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Web accessibility lawsuits surge, setting new record

20/02/2023 11:06:57
ADA-related claims that reached the Federal court in 2022 have risen by 12 percent compared to 2021, a new Seyfarth Synopsis report showed.
In total, 3,255 lawsuits were filed against businesses on the basis of ADA Title III for allegedly not providing accessible websites for individuals with disabilities, setting an all-time high record.

As emphasized previously, ADA-related claims have exploded in recent years, and bar a slowdown prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the upward trend has not stopped since 2017.

Since 2017, Seyfarth Synopsis has recorded a 177 percent increase in Title III website accessibility lawsuits.

It should also be noted that most claims are preceded with demand letters that settle outside the courts, anywhere between the range of $7,000 to $30,000, according to various estimates. Hence, the actual number of ADA claims throughout the nation is significantly higher that the official number.

The report further stipulated that the ADA Title III lawsuits related to website accessibility violations consist of 37 percent of the total ADA Title III lawsuits filed, versus only 25 percent from the previous year.

Although California used to be the state with the highest number of ADA claims in the past, the state of New York recorded a total of 2,560 lawsuits, leaving other states far behind—Florida coming in second with 310 suits, Pennsylvania with 216 suits, and California fourth with 126.

The reason for the major gap between New York and California, according to the report, is likely to do with New York courts that have ruled that ADA laws do apply to online-restricted businesses, resulting in favorable rulings toward plaintiffs. In contrast, California courts at the state and federal levels have struck down the appeal that online-restricted businesses are subject to ADA laws.

However, California also has the Unruh accessibility-related legislation, and many related lawsuits are filed at the state level without registering as ADA claims.

To find out if web accessibility laws apply to your business and location, click here for more information.

Closed captions for videos and audio content enable people with hearing impairments to understand the content. EqualWeb has become the first web accessibility vendor to provide a video and audio closed captions option for people with disabilities as part of its automatic services.

The unique benefit of the function is that it’s entirely automatic. Moreover, as the website owner, you can modify the automatic generic text if you find a mismatch between the video and the text (the AI may miss a few words here and there), using the Captions Editor in your dashboard.

The closed captions function includes a simple on-and-off activation button, a rating vote for feedback purposes, a new transcription window over the video or audio element, and a captions download option. The captions’ font conforms to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 standards for easily accessible fonts.

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In the web accessibility field we hear a lot about assistive technology. But people without disabilities will be mostly ignorant about what assistive technology actually is, as well as what constitutes assistive technology. So let us break down for you the meaning of assistive technology, how important it is, and what your role, as the providers of goods and services to individuals with impairments, is for compatibility with assistive technologies.

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