|Here’s what Happens When you Get Sued
1. You get a Notice. For many businesses, this notice will be a complete surprise. For others, it will be the letter they’ve been hoping to avoid for years now. You’ll be advised of which standards your site doesn’t meet and that a lawsuit has been filed.2. You’ll want to get a Lawyer. There are lawyers, and then there are good internet and web accessibility lawyers. Try to find one of the latter flavor, as they are most experienced in preparing a defense to refute the complaint and show that not only is your site compliant, but you have the other requisite accessibility policies, plans and personnel in place that a determination will ultimately include.3. Get Your Website Audited. While this seems obvious, it’s important to immediately do an audit of your site (you can get your free audit done here). That way, you’ll understand where you stand and whether the complaint you received is valid. Perhaps more importantly, you can estimate how much you’ll need to spend to get it up to standards.
4. Fix Your Site! This is also obvious and can be painful and expensive, or relatively painless and affordable. A good accessibility consultant can do this for you and/or provide back up for your internal team.
5. Try to Settle. A good internet accessibility lawyer can limit your exposure here – especially with your website now being accessible and your company accessibility policy, planning and training in place. What you’ll also want to be prepared to demonstrate is do you have a bug fix priority policy? How is accessibility incorporated into onboarding for new hires? Do you have a prominently displayed accessibility statement on your site? All of these items will help bolster your case and put you in a much better position to negotiate. Remember, statutes and interpretations around accessibility can sometimes be vague. Accessibility is always a journey and not necessarily a final destination. If you can show your planning, intent, remediation, culture and awareness regarding accessibility, it will greatly strengthen your position.
6. Or Go to Trial. This is where the real costs are incurred. Legal fees, court costs, expert witnesses, time lost from work – it all adds up. And that’s not counting fines which can run $50K to $100K. And, you STILL have to fix your site if you haven’t already, which can easily run into the 10’s of $thousands.
The Truth About ADA Web Lawsuits: They’re largely
self-inflicted and AVOIDABLE
The truth that most of us already know is that most of the time, these accessibility lawsuits are completely avoidable. Here are six things you can do today to significantly reduce your risk for a lawsuit.
1. Get your website checked for accessibility and put in place a plan to have it audited every couple months or so. There are some really simple, affordable ways to do this. Find out how here – Accessibility Audit and Remediation together.
2. Get a corporate Accessibility Policy in place and have an accessibility statement prominently displayed on your website – it’s required.
3. Get a corporate Accessibility Plan. Accessibility is more of an art than science, and should continually be monitored and improved. Indicate the steps in your plan to continually improve compliance over time. Show how you will methodically address accessibility bugs on your site.
4. Get an accessibility champion or find the one that already exists in your organization. Listen to them and highlight the importance of accessibility across the company.
5. Training and awareness. ‘Nuff said.
6. Incorporate accessibility consciousness into your corporate culture – just like you would security. Is the new widget we want to incorporate into our site accessible? What about this new software we want for internal back office use?
That’s all for now. Next Post: Compliance vs. Usability. What’s the difference?