Expected Increase in ADA Digital Accessibility Lawsuits for 2021

We’re only a few months into 2021, but it’s already clear that ADA digital accessibility lawsuits are unlikely to slow down as we move through the year.

Last year, we saw a big jump in ADA lawsuits surrounding digital accessibility with several emerging patterns and trends becoming more common.

In this post, we’re going to look at what you need to do about digital accessibility and ADA suits in 2021 based on our data from last year. (Editor’s Note: This blog is a summary of our Jan 27th webinar, Digital Accessibility and ADA Lawsuits in 2021)

HOW WE GOT OUR DATA

Before we share our findings, we want to go over the methodology of how we compiled our 2020 ADA lawsuit report, which can be accessed here.

Here’s how we collected our data:

WHAT MOST ADA DIGITAL LAWSUITS HAVE IN COMMON

While each individual ADA lawsuit is unique, there were solid trends that we saw consistently throughout 2020.

These are what about 80% of accessibility lawsuits had in common:

FACTORS IMPACTING THE RISE IN CASES

Last year, there was a 23% year-over-year rise in ADA lawsuits from the year before.

Here are the factors that impacted the rise in cases:

PREDICTIONS FOR 2021

Based on what we know about the current climate regarding ADA and accessibility lawsuits, we have a few solid predictions about what to potentially expect in 2021.

Vendors and web agencies are likely to be held accountable in ADA lawsuits.

The DOJ may become an active player in cases again under the new administration. There may also make some efforts to define technical accessibility standards as it relates to the ADA, instead of just relying on the unofficial WCAG 2.1 standard we have now. There may be some confusion or resistance around this, though, since WCAG 3.1 is due in two years.

WHAT TO DO IF YOU GET A LAWSUIT CLAIM OR DEMAND LETTER

If you receive a demand letter or are on the receiving end of a potential lawsuit citing an ADA violation, don’t panic. Take the following steps:

Experienced counsel will know the general options, strategies for defense, questions to ask, and unique litigation challenges surrounding ADA cases with digital accessibility as the core focus.

HOW TO SCALE YOUR ACCESSIBILITY EFFORTS NOW

Ready to make changes and revamp your digital accessibility this year?

The first thing you should do is to take stock of your public-facing digital channels and content, including your site, mobile apps, and video. Look for easy targets, like not being screen reader-friendly or lacking closed captions on videos.

Next, run automated accessibility tests on your ten most-frequented pages, including global elements and most-used components. See if you spot anything.

After you do this, have a blind user try to complete your top user tasks on all of your sites and apps. They’ll catch what automated tests miss.

→ Read how to build a complete Accessibility Testing Program in our free guide.

Once you do this, complete a remediation plan, including timeline and costs.

Once completed, test it again.

There’s a lot that goes into ensuring that your site is ADA-compliant for accessibility and liability-prevention purposes. We can help. Learn more about our full audits and manual tests here.

This blog post summarizes our recent webinar, Digital Accessibility and ADA Lawsuits in 2021.