UsableNet's Research team reveals the most targeted regions and industries for ADA Web Accessibility-related lawsuits 2018.
UsableNet's research team has compiled and tracked ADA digital accessibility court cases for the last 12 months. Keep reading to learn about our findings including the significant increase in the number of cases and the geographic and industry focus of private legal actions. We hope to help communicate the growing importance and urgency of planning and implementing digital accessibility best practices.
Highlights from the report below:
- In the first half of 2018, there were a total of 1,054 cases reported, nearly double the number of reported cases in the second half of 2017.
- There are two main geographic locations where most cases are being filed: New York and Florida.
- New York saw a 113% increase in litigation from July 2017 to July 2018.
- There are four main industries being targeted; Retail, Travel & Hospitality, Food Services, and Banking & Financial
- With over 400 law firms defending the cases, six top law firms defend 25% of the reported cases.
To read the full text-only version of this report, scroll down past the image below.
2018 ADA Web Accessibility Lawsuit Report
Over the past year, the UsableNet research team has been monitoring major Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) web accessibility-related lawsuits across industries in key U.S. states -- particularly New York and Florida
The steep increase in lawsuits means businesses are at risk more than ever.
A timeline of Web Accessibility Lawsuits and The Americans with Disabilities Act
1990: The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) became law in 1990 and makes it illegal to discriminate against people with disabilities in all spaces and areas of public life that are open to the general public.
1999: With the rise of the internet and mobile technology the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) were first published in 1999 as a follow-up to the ADA and were updated most recently in June 2018. WCAG 2.1 comprises the universally accepted best practices and guidelines for accessibility on websites and all digital communications.
2017: The federal government adopted WCAG 2.0 levels A and AA in 2017 as the accessibility standard for all government websites and WCAG has been the standard used by the Department of Justice (DOJ) for all web accessibility litigation so far.
ADA Web Accessibility-related lawsuits are among the fastest growing in U.S. Commercial Law Litigation. There were 645 web accessibility-related lawsuits in the second half of 2017. By the first half of 2018 there were 1,054 web accessibility related lawsuits.
Where are ADA web accessibility lawsuits most likely to be filed in 2018?
ADA web accessibility-related lawsuits are rising in the U.S. with the biggest bumps in litigation appearing in New York, Florida, California, Massachusetts, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Oregon.
There was a 113% rise in web accessibility lawsuits in the state of New York from July 2017 through June 2018. There was a 59% rise in New York, Florida, California, Massachusetts, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Oregon combined from July 2017 through June 2018.
Through the research, it was found that New York and Florida made up the majority of the litigation and the next section of the infographic depicts the differences in a side by side display of the following findings:
- 384 lawsuits filed related to web accessibility in the first six months of 2018.
- An average of 64 cases filed per month in 2018
- 20% increase in lawsuits month over month in the first six months of 2018.
New York on the other hand saw:
- 577 lawsuits related to web accessibility in the first six months of 2018
- An average of 96 cases filed per month in 2018
- 31% increase in lawsuits month over month in the first six months.
A few industries got the most ADA web accessibility lawsuits in 2018
The industries getting the most attention from these lawsuits include retail, travel and hospitality, food services, and the banking and financial services sector.
Retail is top of the list with 31%, followed by Travel and Hospitality with 14% and Food Services and Banking and Financial are both tied with 12%.
Who else is on the list? Other 9%; Self-Service 4% Healthcare is 3%; Fitness and Wellness 3%; Digital Media, Insurance, Entertainment and Leisure, Education and Real Estate Agencies and Properties are all at 2%; finally Automotive, Fuel Industry, and Telecommunications are at 1%.
Today, eight out of 10 Americans shop online, making it more important than ever for websites - especially e-commerce sites - to be accessible and compliant with accessibility requirements.
What is the legal landscape like for ADA web claims?
Over 400 law firms are engaged in helping companies. With New York and Florida law firms leading the pack in representation.
Six law firms represent 25% of the total ADA cases; another 20 law firms represent the second 25% and the remaining 397 law firms make up the final 50% of ADA litigation.
ADA Web Accessibility Cases Are on the Rise - Be Prepared & Make Your Digital Content Accessible Now.
From July 2017 to July 2018, all litigation cases related to ADA web accessibility rose by 59%. These increases mean that nearly every company with a digital presence is becoming a lawsuit target.
Companies should be prepared to protect themselves through proactive and ongoing web accessibility efforts and be ready to have those efforts documented and confirmed by outside expert consultants and internal or external legal counsel.
Given the current Administration’s aversion to increased regulation, it is unlikely that the DOJ will re-start its website accessibility rule-making any time soon...In the meantime, we expect website accessibility lawsuits will continue to be filed at a record pace throughout the United States.
No matter what happens, conformance with WCAG will ensure your business is proactive, prepared, and inclusive of all individuals of all ability levels.
For additional insight, information or support with your web accessibility efforts, check out our Web & App Accessibility e-Book: Your Roadmap to Digital Inclusion. It's a comprehensive and actionable guide to accessibility. Download your free copy here.