The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law in 1990, about the same time the internet was coming of age. The goal of the ADA was to ensure that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else. Yet, despite these legal requirements, 30 years later, much of the digital world remains inaccessible to people with disabilities. As websites and apps grow increasingly sophisticated, the digital divide deepens – a 2018 study by AbilityNet found that less than 10% of websites were accessible. This rift is not only morally wrong, it’s created a legal nightmare for a number of companies.
Lawsuits related to ADA requirements are increasing rapidly. According to Seyfarth Shaw, more than 11,000 ADA Title III lawsuits were filed in 2019, an 8.8% increase from 2018. The majority of suits related to claims that websites do not work with screen reader software, while a smaller number were filed over lack of captioning for online videos. And it seems no one is immune. Lawsuits targeted a gamut of industries, and everyone from Beyoncé to Airbnb were ordered to make the fixes necessary to bring their digital properties into compliance.
With lawsuits showing no sign of slowing down – Seyfarth Shaw tallied over 500 suits filed in the first 3 months of 2020 – the best defense is to make your websites and apps fully compliant and eliminate any legal risk. But the reality is, many organizations likely won’t give weight to digital accessibility until a demand letter lands on the desk of their legal counsel – and when that happens, knowing how to proceed can feel overwhelming. How do you determine if your demand letter is credible? How can you assess your website’s accessibility? What’s required to become compliant? Who should you call for help?
How to Proceed When You Receive an ADA Demand Letter
Step 1. Review its Validity with your Legal Counsel
A number of demand letters served today are copy/paste jobs with the exact same claims made from one lawsuit to the next. Because of this, it’s important to review the claims being made and assess whether they are truly relevant to your digital properties. (Note: If you require assistance validating your demand letter, our legal experts can help. Connect with us today to get started).
Step 2. Engage an Accessibility Partner
A credible accessibility partner will conduct an in-depth audit of your digital properties to assess the validity of your demand letter claims and help you determine how to respond and proceed with remediation if necessary.
Don’t Go Through it Alone
If your organization has received an ADA demand letter, engaging an accessibility partner can make all the difference. Achieving digital accessibility compliance requires a specialized skill set – reputable vendors will ensure your digital properties are fixed in compliance with ADA regulations, and can help prevent you from encountering legal risk again down the road.
Don’t let an ADA Demand letter be your organization’s downfall. Download our ADA Demand Letter Playbook and get step-by-step instructions on how to proceed in order to limit liability, become fully compliant with ADA regulations, and safeguard the future of your business.
Rather get help right away? Connect with our experts and learn how our comprehensive Accessibility-as-a-Service solution can help you quickly mitigate legal exposure and prevent future risk.