If you’ve recently had your personal data obtained illegally in a data breach, you may be wondering whether you can make a claim for compensation. The answer is yes, you can, and this guide will explain everything you need to know about data breach claims in the UK. We’ll cover the legal rights that protect you, the steps you need to take to make a claim, and how much compensation you may be entitled to. If you have any questions about the information in this guide, please get in touch with us to discuss your case or ask more about the subject of ‘Can I make a data breach claim if my personal data was obtained illegally?’
Understanding Data Breach Claims – A Guide for Consumers
Data breaches are becoming increasingly common in the digital age, and they can have serious consequences for individuals whose personal information is compromised. Whether it’s a cyber attack on a company’s database or the theft of a laptop containing sensitive information, the consequences can be severe.
Fortunately, UK law provides protection for individuals whose personal data has been obtained illegally in a data breach. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018 set out the rules that organisations must follow when handling personal data. If they fail to comply with these rules and your data is subsequently breached, you have the right to make a claim for compensation.
What Incidents Could Cause My Data To Be Obtained Illegally
There are various incidents that could lead to your data being obtained illegally. Here are a few examples:
- Cyber attacks – Hackers can gain unauthorised access to a company’s network and steal data, including personal information such as names, addresses, and passwords.
- Insider threats – Employees or contractors with access to sensitive data can intentionally or unintentionally leak or steal data.
- Phishing scams – Criminals can use fake emails or websites to trick people into providing their personal information, such as usernames and passwords.
- Lost or stolen devices – If a device containing your personal data, such as a laptop or smartphone, is lost or stolen, your data could be accessed by someone who shouldn’t have it.
- Third-party breaches – If a company that holds your personal data suffers a breach, your data could be compromised, even if you didn’t have a direct relationship with that company.
How Could It Harm Me?
If your personal data is obtained illegally, it could be used for various nefarious purposes, such as identity theft, financial fraud, and phishing scams. The harm you may suffer as a result of a data breach could include:
- Financial loss – Criminals could use your personal information to make purchases or apply for credit in your name, leading to financial losses.
- Psychological harm – The stress and anxiety of knowing that your personal information has been exposed to criminals can be significant.
- Damage to reputation – If sensitive information, such as medical records or legal documents, is exposed, it could harm your reputation and cause embarrassment or distress.
- Identity theft – Criminals could use your personal information to open bank accounts, take out loans, or commit other types of fraud in your name.
- Harassment or blackmail – Criminals could use your personal information to harass or blackmail you, causing significant emotional distress.
Your Legal Rights: Making A Data Breach Claim For Illegally Obtained Personal Data
Under the GDPR, you have the right to claim compensation if you have suffered “material or non-material damage” as a result of a data breach. This includes financial losses, such as money stolen from your bank account, and non-financial losses, such as stress and anxiety caused by the breach.
To make a successful claim, you must be able to prove that your personal data was obtained illegally in the breach due to wrongful action by a data controller and that you have suffered harm as a result. This can be a complex process, and it’s important to seek expert legal advice to ensure that you have the best possible chance of success.
Steps to Take If Your Personal Data Is Illegally Obtained In A Data Breach
If you believe that your personal data has been obtained illegally in a data breach, there are several steps you should take to protect yourself and increase your chances of making a successful claim:
- Report the breach– If you are aware of a data breach that has affected your personal data, you should report it to the organisation responsible as soon as possible. They have a legal obligation to investigate the breach and take steps to prevent it from happening again.
- Gather evidence -To make a successful claim, you will need to provide evidence to show that your personal data was obtained illegally in the breach and that you have suffered harm as a result. This could include bank statements, medical records, and any correspondence relating to the breach.
- Seek legal advice -Making a data breach claim can be complex, and it’s important to seek expert legal advice to ensure that you have the best possible chance of success. A solicitor who specialises in data breach claims can advise you on the strength of your case and help you to gather the evidence you need.
How To Prove A Data Breach Claim: Tips From An Expert
To make a successful data breach claim, you need to be able to prove that your personal data was obtained illegally in the breach and that you have suffered harm as a result. Here are some tips from an expert on how to do this:
- Keep records: Keep a record of any correspondence you have with the organisation responsible for the breach, as well as any evidence that supports your claim, such as bank statements or medical records.
- Get expert advice: Seek expert legal advice from a solicitor who specialises in data breach claims. They can advise you on the strength of your case and help you to gather the evidence you need.
How Much Compensation Can You Claim for a Data Breach?
The amount of compensation you can claim for a data breach depends on the severity of the breach and the harm you have suffered as a result. The Judicial College Guidelines set out the range of compensation that can be awarded for different types of harm, including psychological damage and financial loss.
For example, if you have suffered psychological harm as a result of a data breach, you may be entitled to damages within the guidelines below. We should point out, however that these are only guidelines, and your compensation would depend on the specifics of your case.
- Severe psychological injuries- £54,830 to £115,730
- Moderately severe psychological injuries – £19,070 to £54,830
- Moderate psychological injuries- £5,860 to £19,070
- Less severe psychological injuries – £1,540 to £5,860
If you have suffered financial loss, such as money stolen from your bank account, you may be entitled to claim for the amount of the loss, plus any additional costs you have incurred as a result of the breach.
No Win No Fee Claims: How to Make a Claim under a Conditional Fee Agreement
If you’re worried about the cost of making a data breach claim, you may be able to make a claim under a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA), also known as a No Win No Fee agreement. This means that you won’t have to pay any upfront costs, and your solicitor’s success fees will only be payable if your claim is successful.
Under a CFA, a legally capped success fee is only payable if you win your case. If you lose, you typically won’t have to pay anything. This can provide peace of mind and allow you to pursue a claim without worrying about the cost.
Get in Touch to Find Out More
If you’ve been the victim of a data breach and you’re unsure about whether you can make a claim, or you simply want to find out more about your rights, get in touch with us today. Our team of expert data breach advisors can provide you with the advice and support you need to make a successful claim.
We offer a free initial consultation, during which we’ll assess your case and advise you on the best way to proceed. Our advisors understand that the aftermath of a data breach can be a stressful and difficult time, which is why we’re committed to providing you with a compassionate and supportive service. We could even connect you with a No Win No Fee solicitor from our panel who could help you begin your claim.
Contact us today to find out how we can help you make a data breach claim and get the compensation you deserve.
Can I Make A Data Breach Claim If My Personal Data Was Obtained Illegally? Further Guidance
Finally, you can see further insight on data breach claims by clicking the below links.
What Is The Role Of A Data Breach Solicitor? – Learn how a solicitor could help you claim.
Can I Make A Data Breach Claim Against My Employer? – Employee claims are discussed in this guide.
How Much Compensation Can I Expect To Receive For A Data Breach Claim? – Calculate compensation using this guide.
Trends In Data Security Incidents – Learn what the latest trends are.
Spam Texts – learn what to do about spam texts in this guide.
Complain About Data Usage – Find out how to make a complaint about data protection.