Cyber Insurance Blog

Web Accessibility Lawsuits Soar: ADA Insurance Protects Your Clients

Web Accessibility Lawsuits Soar: ADA Insurance Protects Your Clients

Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act mandates that organizations make their physical and digital spaces more accessible to customers with disabilities. This includes making web content and technology user-friendly according to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). Shockingly, nearly 98% of US websites fail to meet these standards.

Moreover, the 2023 Year End Report by UseableNet revealed a significant increase in ADA lawsuits against websites filed federally and at the state level. More than 4,500 cases were recorded, marking an uptick of approximately 500 more lawsuits than the previous year, 2022.

The lawsuits predominantly target eCommerce websites, which are often complex and frequently updated, making them more prone to legal challenges.

If your business clients operate commercial websites, they’ll likely need ADA Insurance to cover the legal risks of ADA policy violations.

What You Need to Know About ADA Compliance

A lawyer, with pen and document in hand, presents a settlement agreement to a businessman regarding a claim of an ADA violation.Title III prohibits discrimination based on disability in “places of public accommodation,” a rule many associate with physical access issues like wheelchair ramps and handicapped parking spaces. However, an increasing number of lawsuits are focusing on website accessibility, highlighting an exposure many businesses have not anticipated or addressed.

ADA Title III regulations stipulate that websites must be accessible for people who are hard of hearing, visually impaired, or have any other type of disability. Companies can incorporate several web features to comply with WCAG. A few examples include:

  • Adding text captions to images that are compatible with screen readers for visually impaired users
  • Giving visually impaired users options to adjust font size and color on the website
  • Providing audio descriptions and audio captions for users who are hearing impaired

Businesses specializing in website design and development could face future issues due to any ADA policy compliance oversights that affect their clients. Therefore, these companies must secure Technology E&O Insurance, which offers protection against potential ADA compliance challenges, given that there’s no absolute safeguard against such issues.

ADA Title III Poses Significant Liability Risks

Co-workers, including woman with blindness disability, use laptop computer with screen reader program for the visually impaired.Record numbers of ADA lawsuits against websites highlight the level of exposure that many businesses face. A class action lawsuit filed in early 2023 accused Whirlpool Corporation, which owns the KitchenAid appliance brand, of discrimination. The lawsuit claimed that barriers on the KitchenAid website forced visually impaired customers to shop in-store, causing them extra time and expense.

In 2022, Daniel Rodriguez filed a class action lawsuit against Barnes & Noble, claiming the book seller’s website didn’t provide adequate support for his screen-reading software and denied him equal access. Three years prior, Egal Shabaz sued the company over its website’s non-compliance with WCAG standards, highlighting ongoing legal issues with web accessibility.

Ali Colak filed a lawsuit against Sweetgreen Inc. in 2024, claiming the restaurant chain’s website violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and New York City Human Rights Law. He alleged that the site’s lack of proper image descriptions, incorrectly formatted lists, and improperly programmed pop-ups make it inaccessible. These issues interfere with the functionality of screen reader technologies.

In 2023, 77% of ADA lawsuits against websites targeted organizations with under $25 million in revenue, though cases against larger companies often receive more public attention.

What Kind of Insurance Covers ADA Accessibility?

Because recent lawsuits focus on websites and cyber-driven accessibility issues, some assume that Cyber Liability coverage would apply here. However, Cyber Liability policies do not cover this particular exposure. Cyber policies cover the first- and third-party exposures associated with a cyber incident, such as a cyber breach. These policies do not include language regarding ADA accessibility.

ADA Insurance falls under Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI). Although EPLI can be a stand-alone product, it is often part of a Management Liability package. ProWriters offers EPLI as part of our comprehensive Directors and Officers (D&O) Insurance packages. These policies protect company officers in the event of a D&O-related claim.

It’s not uncommon for ADA violations to result in tens of thousands to millions of dollars in compensatory damages—a financial burden that could be too much to bear for many businesses. Consequently, securing ADA Insurance has become a critical safety net against litigation costs.

Protect Your Clients From ADA-Related Lawsuits with ProWriters

ProWriters agent scans EPL Insurance carriers via two computer screens at his office workstation.Are you a Cyber Insurance broker looking to secure ADA Website Compliance Insurance for your business clients? Look no further than ProWriters. With our finger on the pulse of the latest regulatory liability, we bring unmatched expertise and advice, helping you find the right ADA Website Compliance Insurance solutions.

At ProWriters, exceptional customer support is at the heart of what we do, making the process smooth and straightforward. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to provide your clients with top-tier protection. Schedule an appointment with a ProWriters representative today and take the first step toward comprehensive ADA Insurance coverage for your clients.

The Six-Step Guide to Becoming Your Clients’ Cyber Expert

Download our free eBook to help you better identify your clients’ needs, educate your customers, and provide your clients with coverage that will protect the future of their businesses.

Subscribe to Our Monthly Newsletter!

    Retail vs. Wholesale Brokerage

    Experts Weigh In

    Get the eBook