The Continuous Rise of ADA-Related Digital Accessibility Lawsuits

It is seen that the number of ADA lawsuits regarding problems of digital accessibility is constantly increasing every year.  In 2020, ADA-related cases are 25% more than the previous year, with more than 3500 lawsuits filed this year due to the failure of online accessibility. This number may be more if all digital accessibility lawsuits filed in federal and state courts are counted together. Moreover, many digital accessibility complaints are settled by lawyers outside the courts, for which their clients do not need to file lawsuits.

The recent trend of digitalization in all fields has resulted in a sharp rise in the number of internet users, even among disabled people. Many of them are aware of the ADA compliance and the law that clearly states that every public website should adhere to ADA guidelines. So, they find it suitable to sue commercial companies for not complying with the ADA rules regarding digital access to their websites.

Prime reasons for the increase in ADA related lawsuits

Many organizations dealing with disabled people’s rights now encourage filing ADA-related lawsuits, to force commercial companies to comply with ADA guidelines. Moreover, some lawyers also find it more suitable to file such lawsuits to earn money from their clients. Many small business owners panic when faced with such litigation and they readily shell out the compensation amount demanded by plaintiffs.

Companies that sued by ADA-related lawsuits

Amazon.com, Rolex Watches, and Burger King are three commercial giants that were hit hard by ADA compliance issues, leading them to the court for facing legal actions. Several banks and credit unions have faced ADA lawsuits this year, as many people complained of the difficulty in browsing through their websites. Apart from the financial sector, companies dealing with retail businesses also faced legal charges when physically disabled people could not gain access to their websites. The famous supermarket chain Winn Dixie was also sued by a blind man who could browse through this website even after using the screen reader software. All these companies were ordered by the court to modify their websites so that all disabled people can enjoy easy access there and place orders for buying their products. So, company owners needed to spend a huge amount of money on redesigning their websites with all the ADA supporting features, as instructed. Moreover, these companies needed to pay $105,000 to compensate the legal expenses of plaintiffs. 

Therefore, the wisest decision is to make a website ADA compliant before being sued by any disabled visitor. It is best to use ADA compliance testing techniques available now, which can signify if anything is lacking in the website as per the ADA guidelines. Web developers also need to use a simple ADA compliance checker while building up or maintaining the websites of their corporate clients. There is a content management system that can also check the applications of ADA guidelines for web development. Business owners also may use relevant software tools for checking the ADA compliance factors of their websites, before offering the websites for public use.