Data protection is an increasingly important issue in today’s world, and the consequences of a data breach can be devastating. If your personal information has been compromised in a data breach, you may be entitled to compensation for the distress caused. In this guide, we’ll explore the different types of data breaches, the legal frameworks that govern data protection, and the steps you can take to claim data breach distress compensation for harm caused by a wrongful breach of the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA) or the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
Should you have questions when reading this guide, or you’d like to claim, get in touch with an advisor. They could connect you with a reputable data breach solicitor from our panel to start your claim.
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What Is A Data Breach?
A data breach occurs when personal data is accessed, disclosed, or destroyed without authorisation. This can include anything from the accidental loss of data to a deliberate hack of a company’s computer systems. Some common examples of data breaches include:
- Hacking or cyber-attacks
- Theft of laptops or other devices containing personal data
- Sending personal data to the wrong email address
- Accidental disclosure of personal data
- Failure to secure personal data
- Inappropriate access to personal data by employees
What Is The Data Protection Act 2018?
The Data Protection Act 2018 is the UK’s implementation of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The Act outlines the rules and regulations that organisations must follow when handling personal data. It sets out a number of rights for individuals, including the right to access their personal data, the right to have their personal data corrected or erased, and the right to object to the processing of their personal data.
Under the DPA, organisations must take appropriate measures to protect personal data from unauthorised access or disclosure. They must also report certain types of data breaches to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) within 72 hours of becoming aware of the breach.
Can You Claim Compensation for Distress Caused By A Data Breach?
Yes, if you have suffered distress as a result of a data breach, you may be entitled to compensation under the DPA or GDPR. The amount of compensation you can claim will depend on a number of factors, including the severity of the breach and the impact it has had on you.
It’s worth noting that you can only claim compensation for a breach that has caused you to suffer distress. If the breach has not caused you any harm or distress, you will not be entitled to compensation.
In order to be eligible to make a claim, you will need to show that you have suffered some form of harm or distress as a result of the breach.
Under the GDPR, you may be entitled to compensation for non-material damage, which includes emotional distress, anxiety, and inconvenience. This means that even if you have not suffered any financial losses as a result of the breach, you may still be able to claim compensation for the distress caused.
To be eligible to claim, you will need to show that the organisation responsible for the breach acted wrongfully and was at fault. This could include a failure to implement appropriate security measures or a failure to notify you of the breach in a timely manner. You will also need to show that the breach has caused you some form of harm or distress.
What Are The Time Limitations On Data Breach Claims?
If you are considering making a claim for compensation for a data breach, it’s important to be aware of the time limitations that apply. In general, you have six years from the date of the breach to make a claim under the Limitation Act 1980. However, some claims, such as those against public bodies may have a shorter limitation period.
Steps To Take If You Suspect A Data Breach
If you suspect that your personal data has been compromised in a data breach, there are several steps you can take to protect yourself and gather evidence for a potential compensation claim:
- Notify the organisation that holds your data – if you suspect that your personal data hasbeen compromised, you should contact the organisation that holds your data as soon as possible. They may be able to take steps to prevent further harm or access to your data.
- Keep a record of any communication – make sure to keep a record of any communication you have with the organisation, including emails, letters, and phone calls. This will be important evidence if you decide to make a compensation claim.
- Contact the ICO – if you believe that your personal data has been compromised, you can also report the breach to the ICO. They can investigate the breach and take enforcement action against the organisation if necessary.
- Seek legal advice – if you are considering making a compensation claim, it’s important to seek legal advice from a reputable data breach solicitor. They can help you understand your rights and assess whether you have a strong case for compensation.
Calculating Compensation For Data Breach Distress
Calculating compensation for data breach distress can be a complex process, as it will depend on a number of factors, including the severity of the breach and the impact it has had on you. To determine the amount of compensation you may be entitled to, a number of different factors will be taken into account, such as the nature and extent of the breach, the type of personal information that was compromised, and the emotional distress and inconvenience you have experienced as a result.
The Judicial College Guidelines – Calculating Compensation For Distress After A Data Breach
The Judicial College Guidelines are a set of guidelines that are used by courts in England and Wales to determine the amount of compensation that should be awarded in personal injury cases. Although they are not specifically designed for data breach claims, they can be used as a starting point to help determine the appropriate level of compensation for data breach distress.
The guidelines provide a range of compensation awards based on the severity of the injury or distress suffered, as well as other factors such as the age and gender of the claimant. For example, for cases involving psychological harm, the guidelines provide a range of awards based on the severity of the harm, from less severe symptoms such as sleep disturbance and anxiety, to more severe symptoms such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and severe depression.
It’s important to note that the guidelines are not prescriptive, and the final compensation award will depend on the specific circumstances of the case. A reputable data breach solicitor can help you understand how the guidelines can be used to inform your compensation claim and can provide guidance on the likely compensation award based on the specific facts of your case.
Evidence And Other Damages For Data Breach Claims
To support your claim for compensation, you will need to provide evidence that demonstrates the impact the breach has had on you. This may include medical evidence, such as a doctor’s report, to show that you have experienced emotional distress as a result of the breach. You may also need to provide evidence of any financial losses you have suffered as a result of the breach, such as the cost of credit monitoring or any losses resulting from identity theft.
No Win No Fee Agreements And Data Breach Claims
If you are worried about the cost of making a compensation claim, you may be able to make use of a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). This type of agreement means that you will not have to pay for a lawyer to help you upfront, and you will only be required to pay your solicitor if your claim is successful.
Also, under a CFA, your solicitor’s fees will be conditional on the success of your claim. Additionally, they are subject to a legal cap. If your claim is unsuccessful, you will not be required to pay your solicitor’s fees.
Start Your Claim
If you suspect a data breach, it’s important to take steps to protect yourself and gather evidence for a potential compensation claim. Therefore, should you decide to make a claim, it’s important to seek the advice of a specialist data breach solicitor who can guide you through the process. Additionally, they can help you to achieve the best possible outcome.
If you have any questions or need help connecting with a reputable data breach solicitor from our panel to start your claim, please get in touch with our expert advisors today. We are here to help you get the compensation you deserve.
Further Information On Data Breach Distress And Compensation Claims
Data Breach FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions – Firstly, learn answers to common questions.
How Much Compensation Can You Claim For A GDPR Breach? – Learn about calculating compensation.
Connect With The Best Data Breach Lawyers For Your Case – Get help finding a lawyer.
Make A Complaint – Here, make a complaint about data protection.
About The ICO – Find out about the Information Commissioner’s Office.
National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) – Finally, details on how to protect your data online can be found here.