ADA Website Compliance Lawsuit Settlement Amounts

ADA website lawsuits settlement amounts usually range between $5,000 and $20,000. However, it is not uncommon for small businesses to settle for less than $5,000.

This dollar range is based on what numerous clients have shared with me and from talking to defense attorneys who actively defend website accessibility lawsuits.

Determining Factors

Your entity’s size definitely affects negotiations. If you can prove your operations are smaller and you have limited revenue, plaintiffs law firms are often willing to settle for less. Small businesses can usually settle for $10,000 or less, even if negotiating with a law firm located in New York.

Also, the stage of the settlement matters. If it’s after demand letter is sent, then that likely will keep the keep the dollar amount lower. However, if a complaint is filed if motions are filed then that’s going to lend to a higher settlement amount.

Another factor is the experience level of the plaintiffs law firm. If the firm is smaller and/or less experienced and/or reluctant to file in court, that firm is likely going to settle for a lesser amount than a firm that is experienced, files regularly, and has negotiated against entities of all sizes.

One more factor is the location: New York-based lawsuits usually cost more to settle vs. the two other most active states, California and Florida.

Those are the factors that go into the actual settlement amount, but what’s very, very important is that it’s not just the settlement amount that adds to the bottomline cost.

To learn more about the legal landscape surrounding website accessibility litigation, read my ADA Website Compliance checklist with full explanations of the law (Title II and Title III), the legal landscape, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, and more.

Stipulations

The non-money terms of ADA website settlements can greatly affect the total cost of settling a website accessibility lawsuit.

From my observations, many settlements may include mandatory audits, user testing, website changes, and even the hiring of third parties. While these terms are often included in settlements, they can significantly increase costs for the defendant.

For instance, while including an audit as part of a settlement may seem reasonable, conducting these audits quarterly can become expensive and might even be excessive. Similarly, user testing can be costly. If mandated to be done quarterly, not only does it escalate the cost, but such frequent testing might not even be beneficial.

It’s crucial to consider the nature of these terms, their frequency, and whether there’s a requirement to report to the plaintiffs’ law firm. Beyond the monetary value of the settlement, the conditions of the settlement can sometimes exceed the original cost. Thus, careful attention is needed when evaluating these terms.

While an audit, remediation, and user testing are all excellent measures to ensure an accessible website, it’s always best if you purchase services on your terms and timeline and not a plaintiffs’ lawyer’s terms.

Top 3 Accessibility Issues

The most active plaintiffs’ law firms typically claim 15 accessibility issues over and over again in complaints filed in court. The top three issues claimed are:

  1. Missing alternative text
  2. Misssing form field labels
  3. Lack of keyboard navigability

While several issues returned by automated scans such as WAVE, AXE, Google Lighthouse, and PowerMapper are a part of the top claimed issues – and having zero errors on scans is a best practice, plaintiffs’ law firms have evolved and are now manually reviewing websites for issues such as keyboard navigability.

Even if you are unable to make your website fully conformant with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), you can still reduce the chances you or sued or at least land a more favorable settlement amount if you have less accessibility issues.

A portion of plaintiffs’ law firms commonly fall back and the number and type of issues when negotiating the final settlement amount. The more issues and the more problematic the issues are, the more these lawyers paint a story that you have violated the ADA / are being discriminatory.

Help Defending a Lawsuit

Do you need help with stopping lawsuits?

The first step is to hire a defense attorney who is experienced in defending website accessibility litigation and is familiar with negotiations. Our services help arm your attorney with even more information and a better defense.

We offer meticulous audit, remediation, and user testing services. Read our ADA website accessibility services page to learn more about how we can make your website fully WCAG 2.1 AA conformant.

Through our services, we can also offer certification documentation that can provide the assurance you need against demand letters and lawsuits.

I also offer consultation on ADA website compliance. My consulting can help both you and your defense attorney better defend your case and potentially lower your final settlement amount as well as the terms of the settlement.

Finally, I highly recommend the ADA Compliance Course. This course is created by me and tells you exactly what accessibility issues the most active law firms are looking for and how to find and fix those issues.

This course shows you how to strategically reduce your risk of a lawsuit as you improve the accessibility of your website. There is no other training on the market that specifically outlines the exact accessibility issues that are most likely to lead to lawsuits and demand letters.

Learn more about the ADA Compliance Course at ADACompliance.net.

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