Americans with a disability must be able to engage with your website in the same way as the hearing or vision impaired.

THE ADA Crackdown ON Large and Small Businesses OWNERS

What’s happening and what do you need to be aware of:

In essence, your website is a “physical building” on the web; as such, it must comply with ADA standards. “What are you talking about like toilets and handrails?”?” Yes, exactly! Only Americans with disabilities on the WWW are able to access your website and participate like a visually or audibly abled person on your website.

As far as the plaintiff lawyers go, there are many of them calling on small businesses to file lawsuits, sending out demands letters and it’s as if they’re handing out free candy but there’s nothing sweet about it. Trying to win is a waste of time, so don’t try to do so. There will be a greater cost involved in fighting than in taking a settlement. If Win-Dixie, Home Depot and Nike settled their disputes, and more others did the same, what chance do you have? Now, let’s get to the bottom of it…

Four categories of businesses have been the ones that were most targeted last year, namely the following:
  1. Retail,
  2. Food service,
  3. Travel and Hospitality,
  4. Entertainment and Leisure….

The scenario goes as follows; you’re minding your own business, when suddenly someone shows up at your business with a demand letter. Then, “game over.” Unless you live in California or Arizona, where they must give you “time to comply.” All over the rest of the country, there is no mandatory “time to comply.” If you want to settle, it’s the only way to save on your pocketbook. A settlement may include the offer of “time to comply” as well as the payment of attorney’s fees when the settlement is reached.

What started all of this? When did it all begin?

The ADA lawsuits against businesses that are not compliant began in 2016, when 262 lawsuits were filed.

In 2019, that number has risen to 2,235, which is a significant increase from 2018. In 2020, that number was expected to rise to almost 3500.

The number of ADA lawsuits filed each month from June through September of 2020 was close to 310.

90 out of 100 cases of digital accessibility result in settlements in favor of the plaintiff, and many more of these cases are settled “under the table” over days and weeks.

Here is the hard part, only two out of fifty states have some kind of remediation period, or a period of time for the problem to be solved. To have any chance of getting your site back up and running, you will need to get a settlement with a deadline to do this.

Additionally, we have noticed that widgets and overlays are being used more and more as “quick fixes.” Leading court-certified auditing companies have found these overlays do not improve accessibility and may even contribute to making your site even worse. In conclusion, overlays are not legal protection for a business.

As a matter of fact, some plaintiffs are actually using screenshots taken from these products to prove their cases. It is known that in 2020, there will be lawsuits against hundreds of companies that had a tool on their website that used optical overlays. Seeing as how Plaintiffs are targeting these companies on purpose, it doesn’t seem difficult to believe.”

The bottom line is, if your site contains a widget or overlay, you need to remove it immediately.

In the next step, you should create a statement that explains what your goals are for becoming accessible; you should include a contact email address as well as a contact phone number appropriately labeled so that people using assistive technology can get in touch with you while your product is improved.

Disclaimer: This post and the headline is my opinion. I provide facts throughout to inform that opinion. I am also not a lawyer and this post does not constitute legal advice.

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