Approximately 7 million Americans are visually impaired, meaning that your potential customers and clients may be unable to access or effectively use your website if the website is not compatible with certain assistive technologies such as screen readers or voice recognition software.

Moreover, if your website is not accessible to visually impaired users, you may be in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) and are susceptible to lawsuits brought by plaintiffs’ firms that are exploiting the ambiguous nature of ADA regulations on website accessibility, and filing hundreds of lawsuits against private businesses.

Title III of the ADA requires that businesses make reasonable accommodations to those with recognized disabilities, and applies to any business that is considered a “public accommodation.” A non-exhaustive list concerning which businesses are considered “public accommodations” may be found here, but the general rule is that any business that regularly serves the public is considered a public accommodation.

Since the beginning of 2015, more than 240 businesses have faced federal lawsuits claiming their websites were inaccessible to visually impaired users, in violation of the ADA. These lawsuits often result in quick settlements for between $10,000 and $75,000, and include agreements that the businesses would update their websites to ensure accessibility. An investment of time and money now may be far less expensive for your business than the litigation which, at this point, seems not to be a matter of if it will happen, but when.

Fortis Law Partners has expertise in helping clients make their websites compliant with the ADA.  Please contact Liz Hartsel if you have been served with a demand letter, or if you have any questions about ADA compliance.[1]

[1] In addition, you should review the currently accepted (but not mandated) guidance document for making web content more accessible, which is available here.


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