Data breaches are becoming more common in today’s digital age, particularly in healthcare institutions. Personal data, such as medical records and financial information, is collected by these organisations and stored in databases that are vulnerable to cyber attacks. Personal data is any information that can be used to identify an individual, including name, address, date of birth and medical information. If you have been harmed by a data breach in an NHS or private healthcare setting, you may be eligible for data breach compensation for data breaches in healthcare institutions. This guide will explain how data breaches can happen, what eligible claimants can claim for, and how to make a successful claim.
Healthcare institutions have a legal duty to protect personal data, just like other data controllers. They must take appropriate measures to ensure that sensitive information is kept confidential and secure. Failure to do so can result in severe consequences, including fines, legal action, and reputational damage.
Don’t hesitate to read on and learn more about how to claim data breach data breach compensation for data breaches in healthcare institutions. However, if you have been affected by a data breach, it is crucial to act quickly. Contact an advisor for advice on how to proceed.
What Is A Data Breach In A Healthcare Institution And When Could I Claim?
A healthcare institution data breach can take many forms, but some examples include unauthorised access to medical records, theft of electronic devices containing personal data, and hacking of the institution’s computer systems. Such breaches can result in sensitive personal data being exposed, leading to identity theft, financial fraud, and other harmful consequences for the affected individuals.
To be eligible to claim compensation for a healthcare institution data breach, the claimant must be able to demonstrate that they have suffered harm as a result of the breach. Harm can include financial loss, emotional distress, and reputational damage. The claimant must also be able to show that the institution wrongfully failed to adequately protect their personal data, either through negligence or intentional wrongdoing.
What Legislation Covers Claiming Data Breach Compensation For Data Breaches By Healthcare Institutions?
The eligibility criteria for claiming compensation for a healthcare institution data breach are set out in the Data Protection Act 2018 and the Limitation Act 1980. The Data Protection Act 2018 sets out the obligations of healthcare institutions in relation to the processing of personal data and provides individuals with certain rights in relation to their data. The Limitation Act 1980 sets out the time limits within which a claim for compensation must be made, which is generally six years from the date of the breach.
Not every data breach results in a claim for compensation. To learn whether you could be eligible to claim, why not call an advisor. They could assess your case and provide you with guidance on what to do next.
Why Should Healthcare Data Be Protected?
The importance of keeping healthcare information secure cannot be overstated. Personal data collected by healthcare institutions is some of the most sensitive information that exists, and any breach can have serious consequences for individuals.
Firstly, the privacy of personal information is a fundamental human right, and it is essential that healthcare institutions respect this right. Individuals trust healthcare providers with their personal information, and institutions have a duty to protect this information from unauthorised access, theft, or loss.
Secondly, healthcare information is also valuable to criminals and hackers who seek to profit from it by committing fraud or identity theft. Healthcare data breaches can result in financial losses, reputational damage, and even physical harm to individuals whose medical histories are exposed.
Moreover, healthcare information is critical to the provision of quality healthcare. Access to accurate and up-to-date medical records is essential for healthcare providers to make informed decisions about patient care. If this information is compromised, it can lead to misdiagnosis, delayed treatment, or other medical errors that can harm patients.
Lastly, the protection of healthcare information is also important for maintaining trust in the healthcare system. Any breach of patient information can damage public trust in healthcare providers and institutions, leading to reduced access to care and lower levels of patient engagement.
How Could A Healthcare Data Breach Happen?
Examples of situations that could lead to a claim for healthcare institution data breaches could include:
- A hacker gains unauthorised access to a healthcare institution’s computer system and steals patient data, including personal and medical information. The institution failed to implement adequate cybersecurity measures to protect the data, and as a result, the patients’ personal information is exposed. The affected individuals could be eligible to claim compensation for any financial losses, emotional distress, or reputational damage suffered as a result of the breach.
- A healthcare institution employee accidentally sends an email containing sensitive patient information to the wrong recipient. The employee did not follow proper data protection procedures and failed to double-check the email address before sending the message. The patient’s personal information is now in the hands of an unauthorised individual, and the institution failed to prevent the data breach. The affected individual could claim compensation for any losses or harm suffered as a result of the breach.
These are just hypothetical examples. To obtain a free eligibility check on your case, why not get in touch with an advisor?
Has A Healthcare Institution Ever Breached Personal Data?
One example of a healthcare breach involving the ICO is the 2018 data breach of the London-based healthcare provider, BUPA. The breach affected 500,000 customers and involved the theft of personal information including names, dates of birth, email addresses, and phone numbers. Additionally, the breach included stolen information on customer policy numbers, which could be used to gain access to personal medical information.
The ICO launched an investigation into the breach and found that BUPA had failed to adequately protect its customers’ personal information. Specifically, the ICO found that BUPA had failed to implement proper security measures such as multi-factor authentication and encryption, and had stored customer data on an insecure database.
As a result of the breach, the ICO fined BUPA £175,000 for failing to protect customers’ personal data. The breach and resulting fine served as a reminder of the importance of proper data protection measures and the potential consequences of failing to implement them.
What Damages Could I Receive For A Data Breach Claim?
Individuals affected by healthcare data breaches may be entitled to claim damages for any harm suffered as a result of the breach. The damages that can be claimed will depend on the specific circumstances of the breach and the harm suffered. In general, damages in healthcare data breach claims can include:
- Financial losses – This includes any direct financial losses suffered as a result of the breach, such as losses due to identity theft, fraud, or unauthorised access to bank accounts.
- Non-financial losses: This includes any harm suffered as a result of the breach that does not involve direct financial losses. For example, this may include damages for emotional distress, anxiety, or stress due to a data breach.
The amount of damages that can be claimed will depend on the severity of the harm suffered. The Judicial College Guidelines provide a framework for determining the appropriate level of damages in personal injury cases, including those related to healthcare data breaches.
Examples of the guideline compensation payouts indicated in the Judicial College Guidelines for psychological injuries can be found below. However, these are only very rough amounts and an advisor could better inform you of how much you could be eligible to claim.
- 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
No Win No Fee Data Breach Claims Against Healthcare Institutions
No Win No Fee claims, which can be made under Conditional Fee Agreements (CFA), can be a helpful way to seek compensation for damages resulting from data breaches. This type of agreement allows you to work with a data breach solicitor to pursue your claim without having to pay any upfront legal fees. Instead, the solicitor agrees to take on the case with the understanding that they will only be paid if the claim is successful.
Under the Conditional Fee Agreements Order 2013, solicitors who work on a No Win No Fee basis can charge a success fee in the event of a successful claim. This fee is usually a percentage of the compensation awarded and is used to cover the solicitor’s costs.
When working with a No Win No Fee data breach solicitor, it’s important to choose a reputable firm with experience in handling data breach claims. If you would like to start a claim, we could help with this. Contact an advisor today who could connect you with a data breach solicitor to help you get the compensation you deserve.
Further Guidance On Claiming Data Breach Compensation For Data Breaches In Healthcare Institutions
Medical Data Breach – Guidance on medical data breaches can be found here.
Hospital Data Breach – If you‘ve been impacted by a hospital data breach, find out your options here.
Data Breach Compensation – A general guide to data breach claims and the process involved.
Data Security Incident Trends – Find out the trends in data security breaches here.
NHS Data Protection – The NHS explains how it protects personal data.
Bupa Data Breach – Here you can find the fine issued by the ICO to Bupa.