It’s True: A Business’s Website Could be the Source of ADA Claims

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It’s True: A Business’s Website Could be the Source of ADA Claims
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Every business owner is familiar with ADA requirements for their physical premises. From wheelchair ramps outside to elevators inside, there are a number of necessary measures that business owners must take in order to ensure that their properties are accessible for anyone who may want to make use of their services. However, as the business world has gone increasingly digital, so has the ADA. Though website accessibility is not quite the same thing as physically accessing a building or property, the ADA does have accessibility requirements for websites that can be very costly for businesses should they choose not to follow. 

The number of ADA website lawsuits filed in federal courts across the nation has greatly increased over the past several years. Businesses’ wellbeing depends on protective measures. For web designers and developers, this is absolutely something that is important to consider for business going forward.

How it Works 

Some visually impaired plaintiffs have sued for needing to uses a screen reader to use the Internet and that websites lacked coding to communicate with the software. Lawsuits like these are being filed more and more frequently.

Web designers must consider individuals with visual or hearing disabilities when creating a site. Most businesses faced with this type of lawsuit settle the case for attorney fees and compliance because it’s cheaper than litigation. While plaintiffs don’t receive money for damages, some do receive money in exchange for keeping settlement details confidential.

Further frustrating businesses, there are no federal regulations to provide a specific checklist of what business must do to make their websites ADA accessible. The ADA was established in 1990, before websites like we have today; however, courts have ruled that most websites must be accessible under the ADA.

A Means of Protection 

While there are no clear regulations pertaining to websites in the ADA, courts have recognized web accessibility standards called Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 (WCAG)

Some of the requirements include:

  • Content must be coded for audio translation by screen-reader software.
  • There must be on-screen captions in videos for screen-reader software to read to the blind and descriptions for the deaf.
  • Sites must include accessible drop-down menus for those who use a keyboard as an alternative to a mouse.

Make sure your website developments are compatible. Generally, websites that are connected to a physical store must be accessible to those who are visually and hearing impaired. For web designers, whether you are freelance or working with a business, it is important to have liability insurance in place that will protect you should an incident of this sort arise.

About Bozzuto & Co. Insurance Services, Inc.

Bozzuto & Company Insurance Services has provided business and personal insurance solutions to clients throughout California since its founding in 1981. Our experienced staff understands the unique needs that each person has when insuring their lives and their businesses, and we pride ourselves on our deeply personal customer service. We are happy to help you through every step of the insurance selection process. Contact us today at (800) 400-6394 to learn more about what we can do for you.



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