Data breaches have become a common occurrence in today’s digital world. They happen when personal information is exposed or stolen by unauthorised individuals. Data breaches can result in serious consequences, such as identity theft and financial loss. If you’ve been a victim of a data breach, you may be wondering whether you can make a claim and what are the key differences between a data breach claim and a personal injury claim.
In this guide, we’ll explain the key differences between these two types of claims and how to pursue compensation. We’ll also provide guidance on how to make a No Win No Fee claim, the relevant time limits, and how the damages for data breach claims can be calculated.
Should you wish to contact an advisor to get free legal advice on your case, or start a claim, you can reach us in any of the ways below:
Understanding Data Breach Claims – What You Need to Know
A data breach claim is a legal action taken by an individual or organisation whose personal or sensitive data has been compromised or exposed without their consent, leading to potential harm or losses.
In the UK, the main legislation that applies to data breaches is the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which came into effect in May 2018. The GDPR sets out strict rules and regulations around how personal data should be collected, processed, and protected by organisations, and requires them to report any data breaches to the relevant authorities and affected individuals within a set timeframe. It was enshrined into UK law in the Data Protection Act 2018.
Personal data refers to any information that can identify an individual, including their name, address, email address, telephone number, date of birth, and financial information. A data breach occurs when personal data is accessed, disclosed, or stolen by unauthorised parties, which can lead to identity theft, financial losses, reputational damage, and emotional distress.
For example, if a company’s database containing personal data is hacked, the hackers may gain access to customers’ names, email addresses, and passwords. This information could then be used to access other online accounts or commit fraud, resulting in financial losses and reputational damage for the customers.
In some cases, a data breach can also lead to psychological harm, such as anxiety, stress, and embarrassment, especially if sensitive personal information such as health records or sexual orientation has been exposed.
What Are The Key Differences Between A Data Breach Claim And A Personal Injury Claim?
A data breach claim arises when your personal information is exposed or stolen due to the negligence or failure of a company or organisation. Examples of data breaches can include losing unencrypted laptops, poor security protocols or cyber-attacks. They can also be the result of human error, for example someone sending your data to the wrong email address. The consequences of a data breach can include identity theft, financial loss, a damaged credit score, and theft. Additionally, victims could suffer psychological harm. It is not uncommon for claims to be made for stress due to a data breach. You do not have to have suffered financial loss to claim for psychological distress.
Personal injury claims, on the other hand, arise when a person suffers physical or psychological harm as a result of someone else’s actions, such as in a car accident or medical negligence case.
How Personal Injury Claims Payouts Differ From Data Breach Claims
Personal injury claims are based on compensation for physical or psychological harm, whereas data breach claims are based on the damages caused by the loss of control of personal information, although they can include damages for psychological harm. In a personal injury claim, the claimant must prove that they suffered harm as a direct result of the defendant’s actions. In a data breach claim, the claimant must prove that the breach was due to wrongful action of the data controller and caused them to suffer loss or distress.
Types Of Compensation Available In Data Breach Claims
The types of compensation available in a data breach claim can include both financial and non-financial damages. Financial damages can include reimbursement for any financial losses incurred, such as fraudulent transactions made using your stolen personal information. Non-financial damages can include compensation for the distress and anxiety caused by the data breach. In some cases, you may also be entitled to compensation for loss of earnings if you were unable to work due to the breach.
Calculating Compensation for a Data Breach Claim – What Factors Are Considered?
The amount of compensation awarded in a data breach claim will depend on several factors, such as the severity of the breach and the impact it had on your life. The Judicial College Guidelines (JCG) are often used by solicitors to determine the level of compensation for non-financial damages. These guidelines provide a range of compensation for various types of psychological injuries or suffering. Examples from the guidelines can be seen below. However, these are not binding, and your compensation for non-material damages would depend on the specifics of your case.
- Severe £54,830 to £115,730
- Moderately severe – £19,070 to £54,830
- Moderate- £5,860 to £19,070
- Less Severe – £1,540 to £5,860
For financial damages, the amount awarded will be based on the actual losses incurred.
If you would like further insight into the type and level of damages that could be appropriate for your case, please get in touch. Our expert advisors would be glad to assist you. They could talk you through your options and assist you in starting a claim.
How to Make a Data Breach Claim
To make a data breach claim, you will need to provide evidence to support your claim, such as proof of financial losses or distress caused by the breach. It is recommended that you seek legal advice from a solicitor experienced in data breach claims, who can help you gather the necessary evidence and navigate the legal process.
The Importance Of Proving Wrongdoing In A Data Breach Claim
In order to make a successful data breach claim, you must prove that the defendant acted wrongfully in failing to protect your personal information. This can be a complex process, and it is recommended that you seek the advice of a solicitor experienced in data breach claims to ensure the best possible outcome for your case.
Time Limits For Making A Data Breach Claim
In the UK, the time limit for making a data breach claim is generally six years from the date of the breach under the Limitation Act 1980. It is important to act quickly and seek legal advice as soon as possible, as some claims might have shorter limitation periods and delays can impact the success of your claim.
What Is A No Win No Fee Claim And How Does It Work?
A No Win No Fee agreement, also known as a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA), is an agreement between you and your solicitor. Under a CFA, you will typically not have to pay your solicitor if your claim is unsuccessful. If your claim is successful, your solicitor will take a success fee. This is legally capped under the Conditional Fee Agreements Order 2013.
If you have been a victim of a data breach, we encourage you to get in touch with an advisor via our helpline today to discuss your options. Our advisors could connect you with one of our panel of data breach solicitors, who could help you claim under a No Win No Fee agreement. Remember, time limits apply, so it is important to act quickly to ensure the best possible outcome for your case. An advisor could help you understand your options and begin your claim without delay.
What Are The Key Differences Between A Data Breach Claim And A Personal Injury Claim? Further Guidance
Now we’ve explored ‘What are the key differences between a data breach claim and a personal injury claim?’ we can move on to providing further useful guidance. Please see the links below to learn more about data breach claims.
Ministry of Justice – The Ministry of Justice provides guidance on making a claim for a data breach. Their website outlines the steps you need to take to make a claim, including providing evidence to support your claim and how to find a solicitor to help you with your case.
Is Sharing An Email Address A Breach Of GDPR? – Learn more about Email data breaches in this useful guide.
Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) – The FCA is the UK’s financial regulatory body, and their website provides guidance on how to report a scam or unauthorised firm. This includes reporting data breaches related to financial services, and their website outlines the steps you need to take to report an incident, including who to contact and what information to provide.
Can I Make A Data Breach Claim If My Personal Data Was Not Misused? – You can find answers to this common question here.
How Does Funding Work In Data Breach Claims? – Learn about what funding options you could have to make a claim.
National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) – The NCSC is the UK’s national technical authority for cyber security, and their website provides guidance on how to report a cyber incident. This includes reporting a data breach, and their website outlines the steps you need to take to report an incident, including who to contact and what information to provide.