Accessibility: Why It Matters And How To Avoid Being Sued

Accessibility: Why It Matters And How To Avoid Being Sued

At VideoTranslator, we do a lot of work with clients who are part of the healthcare ecosystem.

That being said, we are not transcribers, translators, voice over artists, or in this case, nurses/doctors. We use AI to do transcription, translation and synthetic (AI) dubbing - we are technologists who are trying to service our clients to the best of our ability.

Every now and then a story turns up which brings a lot of our work into sharp focus. This week we look at a hearing impaired couple from Arizona who are suing their healthcare provider.

Arizona Couple Sues Their Healthcare Provider

From the Ahwatukee Foothills News we get this story. An Arizona couple are taking their healthcare provider, Dignity Health and its Chandler Regional Medical Centre to federal court over what they consider to be a lack of interpretive services for deaf patients.

The information in the story says that the couple has been waiting more than five years to resolve a civil complaint for practices they think are discriminatory against the deaf community.

Accessibility: Arizona couple Mitchell and Dawn Siegel, sourced from AFN
Accessibility: Arizona couple Mitchell and Dawn Siegel, sourced from AFN

From the article, “Dawn Siegel visited Dignity’s Chandler Regional Medical Center in 2014 for severe stomach pains and claims she was not provided a sign language interpreter who could translate what doctors and nurses were telling her.”

“She was instructed to write down what she needed to tell hospital staff or communicate through an off-site interpreter via webcam video.”

“Siegel found the video service ineffective due to poor visual quality and the interpreter’s inabilities. She claims her requests for a certified, in-person interpreter were not granted during her nine-day hospital visit, resulting in Siegel never wanting to return.”

Can You Get Sued For Not Providing Accessible Services?

“The Siegels were among a group of deaf individuals who joined together in 2014, to sue Dignity Health for violating protections under the Americans with Disabilities Act obligates health providers to “effectively communicate” with deaf people.”

So you probably can get sued. As technologists, we have no idea if there is merit to the lawsuit, and clearly we do not have many facts at all.

But yes, you can get absolutely sued. Whether this will hold up in court is a different matter, and not something we can comment on.

Is The Couple Justified In Suing Their Healthcare Provider?

Again, on this specific case, we cannot comment seeing as we do not know the details.

More generally, is there limited support available to people with disabilities? We think most reasonable people can agree with that sentiment.

The challenge is that providing disability friendly facilities is hard to think about, complex to do and expensive to implement.

How Can You Use AI To Provide A Better Outcome, And Increase Engagement

VideoTranslator allows you to use AI to do two things which can help with providing better disability friendly facilities.

But first some context, people want to feel empowered to make good decisions, and providing them access to relevant information is the key here.

How To Add Open Captions To Your Video

Adding Open Captions is one of the simplest ways to reach the hearing impaired community.

The heuristic is pretty simple:

  • Use an AI to transcribe your video.
  • Use the Auto-Overlay feature to bake in, or burn in, your captions into the video.

This article about the Quick Transcribe feature covers the process.

How To Make Your Video Disability Friendly / Accessible

Assume the video content is going to be deployed on your website, and social media channels.

The key idea is to make sure the transcript is also in the description. So what you need to do is grab the transcript and make sure you are adding that information into the description/metadata fields of your preferred social media channels.

Once you have used the AI to transcribe your video, you need to get the captions without any time stamp codes.

Accessibility: (Before) Transcript with timestamps
Accessibility: (Before) Transcript with timestamps

Use the Hide Timestamps button to get the transcript without the timestamps and then copy the content to use on social media.

Accessibility: (After) Transcript with timestamps
Accessibility: (After) Transcript with timestamps

Deploying Your Asset With Open Captions

If you have used the Auto-Overlay feature to add Open Captions the outcome will look something like below - you can also use the translate feature here for reaching your preferred target demographic.

Accessibility: Another example of Open Captions - note the font/colour is fully editable
Accessibility: Another example of Open Captions - note the font/colour is fully editable

Hopefully the above was useful in showing you how to make your video content disabled friendly. Spending the time/money to make this happen is good for your stakeholders, and proven to increase engagement, so it’s well worth it!


We don’t have any specific legal qualifications, and no idea if you will or will not be sued. Our technology offers a solution where healthcare clients can add accessibility options to their content spend.

Curious about how we could help your business? Check out our managed service, or try our app for free! Alternately drop us an email at

Please connect with us on LinkedIn, YouTube or Facebook for any comments, questions, or just to keep up to date with the work we do!