Data breaches are becoming increasingly common, and the effects can be devastating. While the financial harm caused by a breach is usually the first thing people think of, the psychological impact can be just as severe. If you’ve suffered psychologically due to a data breach, you may be entitled to data breach compensation for emotional distress.
Emotional distress can manifest in many different ways, including anxiety, depression, sleeplessness, and more. This is why it’s essential to understand that as well as seeking compensation for the financial harm caused by the data breach, someone could also be awarded compensation for psychological harm.
But who is eligible to claim data breach compensation for emotional distress? The answer depends on several factors, including the nature of the breach and the extent of the emotional harm suffered. For example, if your personal information was exposed in a way that could lead to identity theft, or if sensitive medical information was made public, you may have a strong case for emotional distress compensation.
In this guide, we’ll go into more detail about who could be eligible to claim data breach compensation, as well as giving examples of the type of breach that could cause emotional distress. We’ll also explain the process of making a claim, and what you can expect from the compensation process.
If you’ve suffered emotional distress as a result of a data breach, it’s important to know your rights and options. By reading this guide or speaking with an advisor, you can learn more about how to protect yourself and seek the compensation you deserve.
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What Allows People To Claim Data Breach Compensation For Emotional Distress?
A personal data breach is a security incident that results in the accidental or unlawful destruction, loss, alteration, unauthorised disclosure of, or access to personal data. Personal data breaches can involve a wide range of information, including names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, medical information, financial information, and more.
In the UK, the Data Protection Act 2018 sets out the legal framework for the protection of personal data. The Act requires organisations to take appropriate measures to protect personal data, and sets out penalties for those that fail to do so. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is responsible for enforcing the Act, and has the power to investigate data breaches and impose fines on organisations that violate the law.
While the ICO is responsible for enforcing the Data Protection Act, it does not help people get compensation for emotional distress caused by data breaches. This is where a data breach solicitor comes in. A data breach solicitor can help you assess whether you have a case for emotional distress compensation, and can guide you through the process of making a claim.
It’s important to note that not every data breach leads to a claim for emotional distress compensation. However, if you’ve been harmed emotionally by the exposure of your personal data, it’s worth getting in touch with an advisor to see if you could make a claim. A data breach solicitor can help you understand your rights and options, and can work with you to seek the compensation you deserve.
What Can Cause Exposure Of Personal Data?
Personal data can be exposed in a variety of ways, including hacking, phishing scams, malware attacks, and employee negligence. However, in order for a person to make a claim for emotional distress compensation, the organisation must have acted wrongfully or negligently in failing to protect the personal data.
Special category data is a particularly sensitive type of personal data that requires even greater protection. Special category data includes information about an individual’s race, ethnicity, political opinions, religious beliefs, health, sexual orientation, and more. A breach of special category data can be particularly devastating, as it can lead to discrimination, stigmatisation, and other forms of harm.
There are several types of data breaches that can cause a lot of emotional distress, particularly when it comes to special category data. For example, if medical records or mental health information is made public, it can be incredibly distressing for the individual involved. Similarly, if sensitive information about an individual’s sexual orientation or political beliefs is exposed, it can lead to discrimination and social stigma.
In addition, identity theft can be particularly traumatic, as it can lead to financial ruin and ongoing emotional distress. If an individual’s personal data is used to open fraudulent credit accounts or make unauthorised purchases, the emotional impact can be significant.
Ultimately, any breach of personal data can be distressing, particularly if it involves special category data. If you’ve been harmed emotionally by a data breach, it’s important to speak with an advisor to understand your options for seeking data breach compensation for emotional distress or financial harm.
What Damages Could Be Awarded In A Data Breach Claim?
When making a claim for compensation after a data breach, there are two types of damages that can be sought: material damages and non-material damages.
Material damages are designed to compensate individuals for any financial losses they have suffered as a result of the data breach. This could include things like bank fees, the cost of credit monitoring, and lost wages due to time spent dealing with the aftermath of the breach.
Non-material damages are designed to compensate individuals for any emotional distress they have suffered as a result of the data breach. These damages can be more difficult to quantify, as they are not based on financial losses. However, they can include things like anxiety, stress, and loss of enjoyment of life.
Evidence Needed To Claim Data Breach Compensation For Emotional Distress
In order to claim non-material damages, you will need to provide evidence of the emotional distress you have suffered. This could include things like medical records, therapy bills, and testimony from mental health professionals. It’s important to work with a data breach solicitor who can help you gather the evidence you need to make a strong case for compensation.
The amount of compensation you can receive for non-material damages will depend on the severity of the emotional distress you have suffered. The Judicial College Guidelines provide a framework for valuing psychological injuries, with compensation ranging from just over a thousand pounds for minor psychological harm to tens of thousands of pounds for severe and long-lasting harm. These are only rough guides however.
If you’ve been emotionally impacted by a data breach, it’s important to speak with an advisor to understand how much your claim could be worth.
No Win No Fee Claims For Data Breach Distress
Making a No Win No Fee claim for data breach distress compensation can be a great option for individuals who have been emotionally impacted by a data breach but are concerned about the costs of pursuing a claim. This type of claim allows you to work with a solicitor without having to pay any upfront costs, which can be particularly helpful if you are already dealing with financial strain as a result of the breach.
When you work with a solicitor on a No Win No Fee basis, you will typically sign a Conditional Fee Agreement. This agreement outlines the terms of your representation, including the percentage of your compensation that the solicitor will receive if you win your case. It’s worth noting that these fees are capped by law, so you can rest assured that you won’t be charged excessive fees even if your case is successful.
There are many benefits to working with a solicitor on a No Win No Fee basis. If you’re interested in making a No Win No Fee claim for data breach distress compensation, it’s important to speak with an advisor who can connect you with a data breach solicitor who can take on your case under these terms. With the help of an experienced solicitor, you can navigate the complex legal process and work to secure the compensation you deserve for the emotional distress you have suffered.
Don’t hesitate to get in touch with an advisor today to learn more about your options for pursuing a claim for data breach distress compensation.
Learn More About Claiming Data Breach Compensation For Emotional Distress
Mental Health Advice – Learn more about the help you can get if your mental health is suffering.
Identity Theft – The ICO provides guidance on what to do if you believe your identity has been stolen.
The Limitation Act 1980 – This legislation oversees how long people have to make certain types of claims.
Time Limit For Data Breach Claims – Learn more about how long you could have to claim.
Your Rights To Claim Data Breach Compensation – Learn about what rights you have.
Data Breach Law – Further guidance on the law surrounding data breaches.