Data breaches can be a nightmare for individuals and businesses alike. When a data breach occurs, personal information is exposed, which can lead to serious consequences such as identity theft, financial loss, and damage to reputation. If you have been the victim of a data breach, you may be entitled to claim compensation under UK data protection laws. In this guide, we will explain what data breaches are, who is liable for them, the benefits of making a data breach claim, and we’ll answer the question of ‘What are the costs involved in making a data breach claim?’ We will also provide an overview of the different funding options available for data breach claims in the UK.
If you believe you have a claim for a data breach, we encourage you to get in touch with us for a free case assessment. We work with a panel of No Win No Fee solicitors who specialise in data breach claims, and can help you understand whether you have a viable claim and connect you with a solicitor who can help.
Understanding Data Breaches In The UK
Personal data is any information that can be used to identify a living individual. This could include a name, email address, phone number, address, date of birth, or even a social media profile. A data breach occurs when personal data is accidentally or intentionally released to unauthorised parties. This could happen due to a cyber-attack, phishing scam, lost or stolen device, or even human error.
The consequences of a data breach can be severe. In addition to the financial loss and reputational damage that can result from identity theft or fraud, a data breach can also lead to psychological harm, such as anxiety and stress, for the individuals whose personal data has been exposed.
Examples Of Breaches That Could Lead To A Claim
Here are some hypothetical situations that could lead to a data breach claim in the UK. These are purely illustrative, however, they could give you some insight into who could be eligible for compensation.
- A healthcare provider fails to properly secure their patient records database, which is then hacked and the records of thousands of patients are exposed, leading to emotional distress. This could lead to a claim for damages from affected individuals for the loss of control over their personal data and the resulting psychological harm.
- A financial institution accidentally sends an email containing confidential customer data to the wrong recipient. This could lead to a claim for damages from affected customers for the distress and inconvenience caused by the breach of their data.
- An online retailer suffers a cyberattack that results in the theft of customer credit card information. This could lead to a claim for damages from affected customers for any financial losses they incur as a result of the breach.
- An educational institution accidentally publishes students’ grades online, making them accessible to anyone who can access the institution’s website. This could lead to a claim for damages from affected students for the loss of privacy and potential harm to their academic or professional prospects.
If you believe you could have a claim, why not get in touch for a free case assessment. We’d be happy to help.
Who Is Liable For A Data Breach In The UK?
Under the UK GDPR and the Data Protection Act 2018, organisations that collect, use, and store personal data have a legal obligation to keep that data secure. If an organisation fails to protect personal data and a breach occurs, they may be liable for compensation claims. This includes both private companies and public bodies such as the NHS, local councils, and government departments.
Examples of organisations that may be at risk of a data breach include banks, insurance companies, healthcare providers, social media companies, and online retailers. However, any organisation that collects and stores personal data is at risk of a breach and could be liable for damages.
The Benefits Of Making A Data Breach Claim
If you have been the victim of a data breach, making a claim can help you receive compensation for the harm you have suffered. This compensation can include damages for financial loss, emotional distress, and damage to reputation. Making a claim can also help promote accountability and improve data security, as it sends a message to organisations that they must take their data protection obligations seriously.
In addition to the benefits to individuals, data breach claims can also have wider societal benefits. By holding organisations accountable for data breaches, we can encourage them to improve their data protection measures, ultimately benefiting everyone.
What Are The Costs Involved In Making A Data Breach Claim?
While making a claim for a data breach can be an effective way to receive compensation and hold organisations accountable, there are costs involved in pursuing a claim. These costs can include legal fees, court costs, and expert witness fees. If you lose your case, you may also be liable for the other side’s legal costs, which can be significant.
The potential financial risks of pursuing a claim mean that it is important to carefully consider funding options. Many claimants choose to pursue a claim on a No Win No Fee basis. This means that they will only pay legal fees if their claim is successful.
Factors Affecting The Costs Of A Data Breach Claim
The overall cost of making a data breach claim will depend on various factors, such as the complexity of the case, the amount of evidence required, the level of damages sought, and the approach taken by the defendant. A case that involves a significant breach of personal data that resulted in financial loss, reputational damage, and emotional distress may require more evidence and expertise, leading to higher costs.
The involvement of third-party experts, such as forensic IT specialists, may also increase the overall costs of the claim. The more extensive the breach, the more technical and legal expertise is required, and this can increase the time and resources needed to build a successful case.
Funding Options For Data Breach Claims In The UK
If you are considering making a data breach claim, the potential costs involved may be a significant concern. However, there are different funding options available to help you pursue your claim without incurring upfront costs.
One option is to work with a solicitor who operates on a No Win No Fee basis. This means that if you do not win your case, you will not be required to pay your solicitor. Instead, your solicitor will receive a success fee if your case is successful. This success fee is a percentage of the compensation awarded and will be agreed upon before the case commences.
Conditional fee agreements (CFAs) are becoming a popular funding option for data breach claims. CFAs allow claimants to pursue their claim without upfront costs and without taking any financial risks. If the claim is successful, the solicitor’s success fee, which is legally capped, comes out of the compensation settlement. If the claim is unsuccessful, the claimant will not typically be required to pay the solicitor for their work.
Another option is to take out legal expenses insurance (LEI) to cover the costs of pursuing a data breach claim. LEI can be a standalone policy or included in a home insurance or car insurance policy.
Are The Costs Involved In A Data Breach Claim Worth It?
The costs involved in making a data breach claim can vary significantly, and pursuing a claim can be a time-consuming and stressful process. However, if your personal data has been breached, and you have suffered financial loss, emotional distress, or reputational damage, making a claim may be the only way to obtain the compensation you deserve.
Moreover, data breach claims play a crucial role in holding organisations accountable for their actions and promoting improved data security practices. By making a claim, you may help prevent future data breaches and protect others from similar harm.
In conclusion, making a data breach claim can be a complex and expensive process. Still, with the right legal advice and funding options, you can pursue your claim without incurring significant financial risks. If you believe that your personal data has been breached, we encourage you to contact us for a free case assessment and to see if you could claim with one of our panel of No Win No Fee solicitors. Remember, there is a time limit for data protection claims, and it is essential to act quickly to avoid missing the deadline.
Further Guidance On The Costs Involved In Making A Data Breach Claim
GOV.UK – The GOV.UK guidance on data protection explains how the Data Protection Act 2018 and GDPR work, how to comply with them, and what individuals’ rights are.
How Does Funding Work In Data Breach Claims? – Learn more about funding a data breach claim.
Claiming Data Breach Compensation For Data Breaches In Mobile Apps – Learn more about claiming compensation for mobile app data breaches.
How Long Do I Have To Make A Data Breach Claim In The UK? – Learn more about how long you might have to claim compensation.
Online Safety – Find guidance on keeping safe online.
Financial Ombudsman Service – This page provides information for businesses on how to deal with data breach complaints, including how to pay compensation.