Welcome to this guide, which answers the common question of ‘Who can I sue in a data breach case?’ A data breach occurs when personal data is accessed, disclosed, or destroyed without authorisation, and it can have serious consequences for those affected. We understand how confusing it can be to navigate the legal landscape when it comes to holding someone accountable for a data breach. This guide has been created to help.
Data controllers, including banks, universities, building societies, credit card companies, and healthcare professionals, are responsible for holding and processing personal data. However, if they fail to protect this data adequately and a breach occurs, they may be liable for any resulting harm.
This guide will provide an in-depth overview of who can be held responsible in a data breach case and what types of data breach claims you may be able to make. We will cover the legal frameworks that can be used to hold organisations accountable. Whatever types of organisation has breached your data, this guide will provide you with the information you need to understand your rights and take action if necessary.
If you’ve been the victim of a data breach and want to find out more about making a claim, get in touch with us today. Our team of experts is here to help you navigate the legal process and ensure that you get the compensation you deserve.
What Is A Data Breach And Who Could Breach My Data?
A data breach is a security incident that results in the unauthorised access, disclosure, or destruction of personal or sensitive data. This can occur through a variety of means, such as hacking, phishing, or the loss or theft of physical devices that contain personal data. The consequences of a data breach can be severe, including financial loss, identity theft, reputational damage, and emotional distress.
In the UK, many different types of organisations hold personal data, and therefore have a responsibility to protect it from data breaches. These may include banks, insurance companies, healthcare providers, universities, online retailers, and even government agencies. Any organisation that processes personal data must comply with strict data protection regulations, such as the UK General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and take appropriate measures to protect the data they hold.
It is important to note that not all data breaches are the same. A minor data breach, such as the accidental sharing of personal data with a colleague, may not result in serious harm. However, a significant data breach, such as the unauthorised access to large amounts of sensitive personal data, can have far-reaching consequences.
If you believe your personal data has been breached, it is important to act quickly to limit the damage. Contact the organisation responsible for the data breach and consider seeking legal advice to determine if you have a claim for compensation.
Who Can I Sue In A Data Breach Case? Eligibility Criteria Explained
There are certain eligibility criteria that must be met in order to make a successful claim.
Firstly, it must be established that the data controller responsible for the breach has acted wrongfully. This may include failing to implement appropriate security measures, failing to respond to the breach in a timely manner, or failing to adequately train staff on data protection protocols.
Secondly, the exposure of your personal data must have resulted in harm to you, such as financial loss, identity theft, or emotional distress. It is important to note that you may still be eligible to claim even if you have not suffered any direct financial loss.
How Long Do I Have To Sue In A Data Breach Case?
Finally, there are time limits for making a claim. In the UK, claims for data breaches fall under the Data Protection Act 2018 and the Limitation Act 1980. Under these regulations, you typically have six years from the date of the breach to make a claim. However, it is recommended that you act as quickly as possible to ensure the best chance of success, especially as some cases could have a shorter limitation period.
If you believe you meet these eligibility criteria, it is important to seek legal advice to determine if you have a valid claim for compensation. A knowledgeable expert in UK data breach claims can help you navigate the legal process and ensure that your rights are protected.
Examples Of Data Breaches By Different Organisations
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is responsible for regulating data protection in the UK and has the power to impose fines on organisations that fail to comply with data protection regulations. In recent years, the ICO has fined a number of different types of organisations for data breaches involving personal information.
One example is British Airways, which was fined £20 million in 2020 for a data breach that affected over 400,000 customers. The breach occurred when hackers were able to access the personal and financial data of customers who had made bookings through the airline’s website.
Another example is Dixons Carphone Warehouse, which was fined £500,000 in 2018 for a data breach that affected 14 million customers. The breach exposed personal data including names, addresses, and email addresses, as well as 5.9 million payment card details.
In 2021, Ticketmaster UK was fined £1.25 million for failing to keep its customers’ personal data secure. The breach affected over 9 million customers across Europe and exposed their names, addresses, email addresses, phone numbers, and payment details.
Can I Sue The ICO For A Data Breach By Another Organisation?
If you have been affected by a data breach, you may wonder if you can sue the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) for failing to prevent the breach or taking appropriate action against the organisation responsible. While the ICO is responsible for regulating data protection in the UK, they do not generally provide compensation to individuals affected by data breaches.
The primary role of the ICO is to enforce data protection regulations and take action against organisations that have breached these regulations. This may include imposing fines, issuing enforcement notices, and prosecuting individuals or organisations for criminal offenses.
If you have been affected by a data breach and would like to pursue a compensation claim, it is important to seek legal advice from a data breach solicitor. They can help you understand your rights and options for pursuing a claim, including assessing the strength of your case, calculating the potential value of your claim, and representing you in negotiations or court proceedings.
What Can I Sue For In A Data Breach Case?
In general, damages can be divided into two categories: material damages and non-material damages.
Material damages refer to financial losses that have been incurred as a result of the data breach. This could include, for example, any expenses that have been incurred in order to prevent or mitigate the effects of the breach, such as credit monitoring or identity theft protection services.
Non-material damages, on the other hand, refer to psychological harm or emotional distress that has been caused by the data breach. This could include, for example, anxiety, stress, embarrassment, or loss of confidence in the affected individual’s ability to keep their personal information safe.
When assessing the appropriate amount of compensation to be awarded for non-material damages in a data breach case, solicitors may refer to the Judicial College Guidelines. These guidelines provide a framework for assessing the appropriate level of damages for various types of injuries, including psychological injuries. You can see examples below:
- Less severe general psychological harm – £1,540 to £5,860
- Moderate general psychological harm – £5,860 to £19,070
- Moderately severe general psychological harm – £19,070 to £54,830
- Severe general psychological harm – £54,830 to £115,730
However, these are only rough guidelines and may not reflect how much your claim is worth. It would be wise to seek legal advice from a knowledgeable expert in data breach claims to ensure that you receive the compensation that you are entitled to.
Who Can I Due In A Data Breach Case Under A No Win No Fee Agreement?
If you have been affected by a data breach, you may be hesitant to pursue a claim due to concerns about the costs involved. However, many data breach solicitors offer a No Win No Fee service, which can help to alleviate these concerns and ensure that you are able to access the legal support that you need.
Under a No Win No Fee arrangement, also known as a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA), you will only be required to pay your solicitor if your claim is successful.
The use of CFAs in data breach claims is regulated by the Conditional Fee Agreements Order 2013. This order sets out the rules and requirements for CFAs, including the maximum percentage of damages that can be charged as a success fee.
Further Guidance On Who You Can Sue in A Data Breach Case
Financial Ombudsman Service – Reporting a data breach.
Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) – Data breaches.
How To Claim For A Hospital Data Breach – Learn about healthcare data breaches.
Top Tips For Making A University Data Breach Claim – Learn about claiming for a data breach by a university.
A Guide To Data Breach Compensation Law – Further guidance on the law and data breach claims.