44 08.2017 | DENTALECONOMICS.COM
BEYOND THE CHAIR
At the end of the day, you are not exempt
from the law, and failure to take the appropriate action could be extremely expensive
and stressful. This is a very real threat, and
you need to take this seriously, as this law
is not going away. If nothing else, it could
get more stringent and specific.
If you don’t have a website that complies
100% with the accessibility standards set
forth by the Web Content Accessibility
Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 AA, which puts your
site in compliance with the ADA, you are
100% at risk. And just a word of warning: it’s
likely a lot cheaper to make your website
compliant, because these federal lawsuits
are typically settled out of court for large
sums—sometimes as high as $70,000, not
including legal fees. 4
I spoke to Karl Kronenberger, JD, a partner
at Kronenberger Rosenfeld LLP. His law firm
specializes in Internet law, and has seen this
issue come to the forefront in recent years.
“Adding an accessibility link to your website
is not going to get someone compliant,” he
says. In other words, this is a real issue that
requires real attention.
My team and I have spent hours tracking
the efforts of these attorneys. Unfortunately,
we’ve found a pattern of who they go after.
They specifically target dentists, because they
know dentists’ websites are not compliant with
ADA standards. They also know dentists don’t
have deep corporate pockets to fight back, so
they’ll probably just cave in and settle.
Dental practices are “easy pickings” for
these law firms. That means if your practice
website is noncompliant with WCAG 2.0
AA accessibility standards (which read like
a Harvard law textbook), your practice is
wide open and vulnerable to these opportunists’ expensive shakedowns.
There is also a real impact when it comes
to your referrals and new patient flow, be-
cause this is not “just another regulation” or
“just another law” you have to comply with.
It also happens to be the right thing to do,
especially when it comes to making your
website accessible to disabled readers, just
like having accessible bathrooms is the right
thing to do for your patients.
According to the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention, one in five American
adults live with a disability, 5 which means
you have patients right now who are disabled
trying to access your noncompliant website,
putting you even more at risk.
You must lend a helping hand to these
individuals because they want to become
devoted patients, and that is why they are
visiting your website in the first place. They
have teeth just like the rest of us! Without the
ability to browse through your website like
everyone else, they won’t become patients,
and neither will their friends and family—but
they may be more likely to report you to the
government or hire an attorney.
Having an accessible website actually
gives you a competitive advantage. You know
that your competition is unlikely to be com-
pliant and unable to properly serve this patient base, which opens up an entirely new
opportunity for practice growth and goodwill
in your community.
The ADA-compliance issue is not going
away, and I strongly urge you let me or some-
one else help you start addressing this problem now while it’s on your mind.
Author’s note: If you’d like to see if your
website is ADA compliant, we’ve created a
special website for DE subscribers that will
show you what actions you need to take. To
learn more, visit Dental WebsiteCompliance.
1. Sullivan CC. Don’t be fooled by DOJ delays,
your website must be ADA compliant.
FindLaw website. http://blogs.findlaw.com/
html. Published July 23, 2017. Accessed April
2. Finnerty K. Setting your sites on web
accessibility. Greenberg Traurig white paper.
Published August 2009. Accessed April 30,
3. Gil v. Winn Dixie Stores, Inc., No.
1:2016cv23020 - Document 63 (S.D. Fla.
2017). Justia website. http://law.justia.com/
2016cv23020/488749/63/. Accessed July 16,
4. Randazzo S. Companies face lawsuits over
website accessibility for blind users. Wall
Street Journal website. https://www.wsj.
users-1478005201. Updated November 1,
2016. Accessed April 30, 2017.
5. Calfas J. CDC: 1 in 5 American adults live
with a disability. USA Today website. https://
disability/30881975/#. Published July 30,
2015. Accessed April 30, 2017.
Disclaimer: This article is for
informational purposes only and does
not constitute legal advice. For legal
advice, always consult an attorney.
Dental practices are “easy pickings” for these law firms. That means if your
practice website is not 100% compliant with WCAG 2.0 AA accessibility
standards (which read like a Harvard law textbook), your practice is wide
open and vulnerable to these opportunists’ expensive shakedowns.