Welcome to this guide which explains ‘Can I make a data breach claim if my personal data was not misused?’ Data breaches are becoming increasingly common, and they can significantly impact individuals. A data breach occurs when personal data is accessed, disclosed, or stolen without authorisation. This can be caused by a variety of factors, including human error, technical failures, or cyberattacks. If you have been the victim of a data breach, you may be entitled to compensation if you’ve been harmed due to the wrongful exposure of your personal data. In this guide, we will discuss your rights under data protection law, the types of data breaches, steps to take if your personal data has been breached, making a data breach claim, compensation, and how to protect your personal data in the future.
Should you wish to speak to us about the information in this guide, or you would like to make a claim, please get in touch with our advisors. They would be happy to assist you.
Understanding Data Breaches – What You Need To Know
A data breach can occur in various ways. For example, an email containing personal data may be sent to the wrong email address, a website may be hacked, or personal data may be accidentally shared with an unauthorised third party. The types of personal data that may be compromised in a data breach include your name, address, phone number, email address, date of birth, and financial information. It could even include medical records, details of religious beliefs or political beliefs. The exposure of such data could cause financial harm or emotional distress.
Your Rights Under The Data Protection Act And The UK GDPR
The Data Protection Act and UK GDPR outline how companies and organisations should handle personal data. They provide individuals with certain rights regarding their personal data, including the right to make a data breach claim. If your personal data has been breached, you have the right to:
- Be informed of the breach
- Access your personal data
- Have your personal data corrected
- Have your personal data erased
- Object to the processing of your personal data
- Restrict the processing of your personal data
- Data portability
- Not be subject to automated decision-making and profiling.
Can You Make A Data Breach Claim If Your Personal Data Was Not Misused?
Yes, you can make a data breach claim even if your personal data was not misused. A data breach can cause emotional distress and lead to financial losses, such as the cost of identity theft protection. If your personal data has been breached, you may be entitled to compensation, even if you have not suffered any financial losses. You would need to prove that you had suffered harm due to the wrongful exposure of your personal data. To learn whether you could have a claim, read on, or contact an advisor for a free case assessment.
The Different Types Of Data Breaches And Their Impact On You
There are different types of data breaches, including accidental data breaches, deliberate data breaches, and cyberattacks. Unintentional data breaches occur when personal data is disclosed or lost due to human error or technical failure. Deliberate data breaches occur when personal data is intentionally disclosed without authorisation. Cyberattacks occur when personal data is accessed, disclosed, or stolen by hackers.
The impact of a data breach on you can vary depending on the type and extent of the breach. A data breach can cause emotional distress, such as anxiety, stress, and embarrassment. It can also lead to financial losses, such as the cost of identity theft protection.
How To Identify If Your Personal Data Has Been Compromised In A Breach
Identifying if your personal data has been compromised in a breach can be challenging. However, there are some signs to look out for, such as:
- Unusual activity on your bank or credit card statements
- Receipt of emails or letters that you did not expect
- Changes to your credit score or rating
- Unexplained withdrawals from your bank account
- Receipt notifications from companies or organisations that your personal data has been breached.
The Steps To Take If Your Personal Data Has Been Breached
If you suspect that your personal data has been breached, you should take the following steps:
- Contact the company or organisation that you believe has breached your personal data.
- Change your passwords for any online accounts that may have been compromised.
- Monitor your bank and credit card statements for any unusual activity.
- Consider freezing your credit file to prevent any further unauthorised access.
- Consider reporting the breach to the relevant authorities, such as the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).
- Keep a record of any financial losses or emotional distress caused by the breach.
Protecting Your Personal Data from Future Breaches
To protect your personal data from future breaches, you should take the following steps:
- Use strong passwords and change them regularly
- Do not share personal information unless necessary
- Use two-factor authentication where possible
- Monitor your bank and credit card statements regularly for any unusual activity
- Be cautious of emails or messages requesting personal information
- Keep your software and antivirus programs up to date
- Consider freezing your credit file to prevent any unauthorised access.
Making a Data Breach Claim – What You Need to Know
If you have suffered harm as a result of a data breach, you may be entitled to compensation. You should consider contacting a specialist data breach solicitor to help you make a data breach claim. They will be able to advise you on the strength of your claim and the potential amount of compensation that you may be entitled to.
When making a data breach claim, you must provide evidence to support your claim. This may include any correspondence with the company or organisation responsible for the breach, bank statements, and evidence of any financial losses or emotional distress caused by the breach.
What Compensation Could I Claim?
Material damages refer to the actual financial losses suffered by the victim as a direct result of a data breach. For example, if a victim’s credit card information was stolen and subsequently used fraudulently, the financial losses incurred by the victim would be considered material damages.
Non-material damages, on the other hand, are damages that cannot be easily quantified in financial terms. They refer to the emotional or psychological impact that a data breach may have on the victim. For example, a victim may suffer from anxiety, stress, or emotional distress as a result of their personal data being compromised. These non-material damages can also include damage to reputation or loss of privacy.
In a data breach claim, both material and non-material damages can be claimed for. Material damages are generally easier to quantify, as they involve actual financial losses. Non-material damages, however, can be more difficult to prove and quantify, as they are not tangible or measurable in the same way that material damages are. Nonetheless, it is important for victims to consider claiming for both types of damages when pursuing a data breach claim, as both can have a significant impact on the victim’s life.
How Much Could I Claim?
The amount of compensation that you may be entitled to for a data breach claim will depend on the circumstances of your case. The court will consider the severity of the breach, the impact on you, and any financial losses or emotional distress you have suffered as a result of the breach.
You could use a data breach compensation calculator to see how much you could claim. However, it might also be wise to speak to an advisor to get an idea of how much you could claim. They would be able to advise you based on the specifics of your case.
No Win No Fee Claims under Conditional Fee Agreements
Some data breach solicitors may offer No Win No Fee claims under Conditional Fee Agreements (CFAs). This means that if your claim is unsuccessful, you will not have to pay any legal fees. If your claim is successful, your solicitor will take a percentage of your compensation as their fee. This is known as a success fee and is capped under specific legislation.
If you would like us to connect you with a No Win No Fee data breach solicitor, please call to speak to an advisor. They would be happy to assist you.
Can I Make A Data Breach Claim If My Personal Data Was Not Misused? Further Guidance
How Do I Choose The Right Data Breach Solicitor For My Case? – Advice on choosing a solicitor.
Can I Claim For Emotional Distress In A Data Breach Case? – Find out whether you could claim for distress.
Estimating Compensation For A Credit Score Data Breach Claim – Insight into claiming for credit score breaches.
Making A Complaint – The ICO shows you how to handle complaints if your data has been breached.
The Limitation Act 1980 – Learn about the time limits for making claims here.
Online Safety – Learn more about online safety from the ICO.