Welcome to this guide, which discusses the answer to the question of “What is a data breach claim?”. In today’s digital age, data breaches are becoming increasingly common, and they can have serious consequences for those affected. If your personal data has been compromised due to the negligence or malicious intent of an organisation, you may be entitled to make a data breach claim.
This guide will cover the legislation that organisations in the UK must adhere to in order to protect personal data. We will also explain the criteria for making a claim and the compensation that could be available if your claim is successful. Our goal is to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of the legal process involved in making data breach claims, so you can decide whether to pursue compensation.
If you believe that your personal data has been breached, we urge you to contact an adviser who can assess your case and provide guidance on the best course of action. It is important to act quickly, as there are time limits for making a claim. Our experienced panel of solicitors can help you navigate the legal process and ensure that your rights are protected. Contact an advisor today to start your claim.
The Importance Of Data Protection
Under the Data Protection Act 2018, organisations in the UK are legally required to protect personal data. This means that they must take appropriate measures to ensure that personal information is secure and not accessed or disclosed without permission. However, despite these legal obligations, it is still possible for organisations to wrongfully breach personal data, causing harm to the data subjects.
If an organisation breaches personal data, it is possible that the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) may take action against them, such as imposing fines or taking legal proceedings. However, if you have been affected by a data breach, you may also be entitled to make a compensation claim.
To make a successful claim, it is important to work with a data breach solicitor who has expertise in this area. They will be able to assess the strength of your case and advise you on the best course of action. The eligibility criteria for claiming may include proving that you have suffered harm as a result of the data breach, such as financial losses or emotional distress.
How Long Do I Have To Make A Data Breach Claim?
It is also important to note that there are time limits for making a claim. In most cases, you have six years from the date of the breach to make a claim. However, it is always best to act quickly to ensure that you do not miss any important deadlines as some claims may have shorter limitation periods.
What Is A Data Breach Claim And How Do I Know I Have One?
To make a successful data breach claim in the UK, there are certain criteria that you must meet. Firstly, the data controller (the organisation responsible for the management of the data) must have acted wrongfully, either through negligence or malice. This means that they must have breached their legal obligations to protect personal data, as set out in the Data Protection Act 2018.
Examples of wrongful acts may include failing to secure personal data or allowing unauthorised access to it. A data controller may also act wrongfully if they fail to report a data breach in a timely manner or do not take appropriate action to remedy the situation.
In addition to the data controller’s wrongful actions, you must have suffered harm as a result of the exposure of your personal data. This harm may include financial losses, such as identity theft or fraudulent activity on your accounts. You may also have suffered emotional distress, such as anxiety or embarrassment, as a result of the breach.
It is important to note that not all data breaches will result in harm, and therefore not all breaches will result in a successful claim. However, if you believe that you have suffered harm as a result of a data breach, it is worth seeking legal advice to explore your options.
Our advisors can provide expert guidance on your eligibility to claim and the strength of your case. Contact us today to start your claim.
How Can Organisations Breach Personal Data?
There are various ways in which organisations could breach personal data, both physically and digitally. Here are some hypothetical examples of how this could happen:
Physical data breaches:
- A company might store personnel files containing sensitive employee information in unlocked filing cabinets that are accessible to anyone who enters the office, including cleaning staff and visitors.
- A healthcare provider might accidentally send confidential medical records to the wrong patient due to clerical errors, such as mixing up patient names or addresses.
Digital data breaches:
- A hacker might gain unauthorised access to a company’s computer system, using malware or phishing scams to trick employees into providing login details or installing malicious software.
- A company might store customer data on an unsecured cloud-based server, leaving it vulnerable to cyber attacks or data leaks due to misconfiguration or unpatched vulnerabilities.
In all of these scenarios, personal data could be exposed to unauthorised third parties, potentially leading to financial losses, identity theft, or emotional distress for the affected individuals. It is the responsibility of data controllers to ensure that personal data is protected against these types of breaches, and failure to do so may result in legal action and compensation claims.
What Compensation Could I Receive In A Data Breach Claim?
Calculating data breach compensation can be a complex process as it depends on various factors, including the severity of the breach and the extent of harm suffered by the affected individuals. Compensation can be awarded for both material and non-material damages.
Material damages include financial losses, such as expenses incurred in rectifying the breach, and losses suffered due to identity theft or fraudulent activity. Non-material damages include emotional distress, such as anxiety, stress, or loss of enjoyment of life.
To determine the level of compensation, the Judicial College Guidelines can be used by solicitors as a reference point. These guidelines provide a range of figures for different levels of severity of psychological injury, ranging from £1,540 for less severe psychological injuries to £115,730 for severe psychiatric harm. However, these are only very rough guidelines.
Other factors that may influence the level of compensation include the extent of the breach, the nature of the data exposed, and the number of individuals affected. It is important to seek legal advice from a data breach solicitor who can help you assess the value of your claim and negotiate with the data controller or their insurer to secure a fair settlement.
What Are No Win No Fee Data Breach Claims?
In recent years, there has been a rise in the use of Conditional Fee Agreements (CFAs), which allow claimants to obtain legal help with their case on a No Win No Fee basis.
CFAs, also known as No Win No Fee agreements, typically allow claimants to pursue a claim without upfront costs or significant financial risk. Under a CFA, the solicitor agrees to take on the case on the understanding that they will only be paid if the claim is successful. If the claim is unsuccessful, the solicitor will not be paid.
There are many benefits to pursuing a data breach claim on a CFA, including:
- No upfront costs
- No financial risk
- Access to expert legal advice and support
- Increased chances of success
To find out if you are eligible to make a data breach compensation claim and to see if you could work with one of our panel of data breach solicitors, you can contact one of our advisers. Our advisers will assess your case and provide you with free, no-obligation advice on your legal rights and options.
If you have been the victim of a data breach, get in touch with us today to see if you could be entitled to compensation.
Further Insight Into Making A Data Breach Claim
The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) – Guidance on data protection and advice on cyber security threats and best practices for protecting personal data.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) – Guidance on cyber security and data breaches for financial services firms and information on regulatory requirements and standards for protecting customer data.
Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) – Guidance on making a data protection or privacy complaint, including making a data breach claim.
Claiming Data Breach Compensation For Data Breaches In Online Shopping Sites – Learn whether you could claim for an online shopping data breach.
Try A Data Breach Compensation Calculator – Using calculators to work out how much you could claim for a data breach is just one option for you.
How To Claim Data Breach Compensation For GDPR Violations – Learn more about claiming compensation for breaches of the UK GDPR in this useful guide.