Welcome to our guide on ‘ Can I claim for emotional distress in a data breach case?’ In today’s digital age, the amount of data we share online has increased, and so has the risk of data breaches. A data breach is a security incident that results in the unauthorised access, disclosure, or destruction of personal information. This information can include names, addresses, phone numbers, and even financial information.
If you have been a victim of a data breach, you may be entitled to compensation for any financial loss you have suffered. However, you may also be eligible to claim for emotional distress caused by the breach. This can include anxiety, depression, and loss of enjoyment of life.
This guide will cover the types of damages you can claim for in a data breach case, including emotional distress. We will also discuss the evidence that may be needed to support your claim and the amounts of compensation you could receive.
If you believe you have a valid claim, we encourage you to seek the help of a one of our advisors who specialises in data breach compensation claims. With their expertise, you can increase your chances of a successful claim and receive the compensation you deserve. Don’t suffer in silence; start your claim today.
What Is A Data Breach?
Before delving into the details of making a claim for emotional distress in a data breach case, it’s important to understand the definition of personal data and a personal data breach.
Personal data refers to any information that can be used to identify an individual. This includes their name, address, phone number, email address, financial information, and even their IP address. Personal data can also include sensitive information, such as medical records, disciplinary records, and religious or philosophical beliefs.
A personal data breach occurs when there is a breach of security that leads to the accidental or unlawful destruction, loss, alteration, unauthorised disclosure of, or access to personal data. This can occur due to a cyber attack, human error, or even physical theft of a device containing personal data. The Data Protection Act 2018 gives organisations a legal responsibility to protect personal data. Should they wrongfully act, and exposure your data, harming you as a result, this could lead to you being eligible to claim compensation.
What Happens When Personal Data Is Breached?
When personal data is breached, the emotional distress caused can be significant, particularly if sensitive information is leaked. For example, if medical records or other sensitive information is exposed, this can have a profound impact on an individual’s mental health and well-being.
It’s important to note that emotional distress can also occur even if the breached data is not particularly sensitive. If you can prove that the exposure of your data has caused you psychological harm, you may be able to claim for emotional distress.
In the next section of this guide, we will discuss the types of damages you can claim for in a data breach case, including emotional distress, and what evidence you will need to support your claim.
What Type Of Data Breach Could Cause Emotional Distress?
There are several types of data breaches that could cause emotional distress, depending on the nature and sensitivity of the breached data. Here are some examples:
- Medical data breaches – If sensitive medical information is leaked, such as information about a person’s mental health or medical history, it could cause significant emotional distress.
- Financial data breaches – If a person’s financial information is leaked, it could lead to feelings of anxiety, stress, and fear about identity theft or fraud.
- Employment data breaches – If an employee’s disciplinary or performance records are leaked, it could lead to feelings of embarrassment, humiliation, and anxiety about their job security. This type of breach could also impact their future career prospects and reputation.
- Social media data breaches – If personal information is leaked from social media platforms, it could lead to feelings of embarrassment, shame, and anxiety about the breach victim’s online reputation.
- Government data breaches – If sensitive information held by the government, such as information about a person’s immigration status or criminal record, is leaked, it could cause significant emotional distress.
It’s important to note that any breach of personal data, regardless of the nature of the information, could potentially cause emotional distress if it has an impact on the breach victim’s psychological well-being.
What Damages Are Available In Data Breach Compensation Claims?
In data breach compensation claims, there are two types of damages that you can claim for: non material damages and material damages.
Non material damages refer to harm that cannot be quantified in monetary terms. This includes emotional distress, anxiety, depression, and loss of enjoyment of life. If you can prove that the data breach has caused you emotional distress or other psychological harm, you may be able to claim for non material damages.
Material damages, on the other hand, refer to harm that can be quantified in monetary terms. This includes any financial losses you have incurred as a result of the data breach, such as fraudulent charges on your credit card or the cost of credit monitoring services.
In the next section of this guide, we will discuss what evidence you will need to support your claim for non material and material damages in a data breach case.
Can I Claim For Emotional Distress In A Data Breach Case If I Haven’t Suffered Financial Loss?
Yes, you can still claim for emotional distress in a data breach case even if you haven’t suffered any financial loss. In fact, emotional distress is one of the most common types of damages claimed in data breach compensation cases.
It’s important to note that in order to make a claim for emotional distress, you must be able to prove that the data breach has caused you psychological harm. This can include anxiety, depression, or any other emotional distress that has impacted your quality of life.
To strengthen your claim for emotional distress, it’s important to provide as much evidence as possible to support your claim.
This evidence can include medical records, therapy bills, and statements from friends and family who have noticed a change in your behavior or mental state since the data breach occurred. It’s also important to keep a record of any symptoms you have experienced since the breach, such as panic attacks or trouble sleeping.
How Much Compensation For Emotional Distress In A Data Breach Claim Could I Receive?
The amount of compensation you could claim for emotional distress in a data breach claim will depend on the severity of the psychological harm that you have suffered. This can be a difficult thing to quantify, but the Judicial College Guidelines provide some guidance on how damages for psychological injury could be calculated.
The guidelines are a set of guidelines that can be used by courts in the UK to determine the appropriate level of compensation in personal injury cases, including cases of psychological injury.
The guideline compensation brackets for non material damages in personal injury cases range from £1,540 for minor psychological harm to £115,730 for the most severe psychological harm.
It’s important to note that these guidelines are only a starting point for determining the appropriate level of compensation for non material damages in a data breach claim. The actual amount of compensation you could receive will depend on the specific facts of your case.
To get a more accurate estimate of the amount of compensation you could claim for emotional distress in a data breach case, it’s important to speak with a specialist advisor.
No Win No Fee Claims – Seeking Compensation For A Data Breach
If you’re considering making a claim for emotional distress caused by a data breach, you may be worried about the costs involved in pursuing a claim. However, many solicitors who specialise in data breach claims offer No Win No Fee agreements to their clients. This means that if your claim is not successful, you will not be required to pay for their work.
Under a No Win No Fee agreement, also known as a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA), your solicitor will only receive payment if your claim is successful. If you do win your case, your solicitor will receive a success fee in addition to their standard legal fees. This fee is capped by law at a maximum of 25% of the compensation awarded to you.
By using a solicitor that works on this basis, you can pursue your claim for emotional distress caused by a data breach without having to worry about the financial risks involved. If you’re eligible to make a claim, our advisors can connect you with a No Win No Fee data breach solicitor who will be able to offer you expert guidance and support throughout the claims process.
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Can I Claim For Emotional Distress In A Data Breach Case? Further Guidance
Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) – Guidance on Data Security Breach Management
Citizens Advice – Data Protection
National Cyber Security Centre – 10 Steps to Cyber Security
What Factors Influence The Amount Of Compensation In A Data Breach Case? – Learn more about what could impact the amount of compensation you receive.
Data Breach FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions – Get answers to common questions about data breach claims here.
How To Claim Data Breach Compensation For Financial Loss – Learn about claiming for financial losses caused by a data breach.