If you’ve experienced a data breach, you may be entitled to claim compensation for any losses you’ve suffered. However, the process of claiming compensation for a personal data breach can be complex and overwhelming, especially if you’re unsure of your legal rights and options. This is where our guide on data breach compensation for personal data breaches comes in.
In today’s digital age, the importance of personal data protection cannot be overstated. With the increasing use of technology and the internet, individuals are more susceptible than ever to personal data breaches. A data breach is an incident where personal information is accessed, disclosed, or stolen by unauthorised individuals, whether through hacking, phishing, or other malicious activities. This can result in a range of harms, such as identity theft, financial loss, and reputational damage.
Our guide is designed to help you navigate the process of reporting a data breach, finding out whether you’re eligible to claim data breach compensation, and understanding how compensation for personal data breaches works. We’ll also take you through the process of making a claim under No Win No Fee terms, which means you won’t have to pay any upfront fees or legal costs unless your claim is successful.
Whether you’re a victim of a data breach or simply want to learn more about your rights and options, our guide is an essential resource for anyone in the UK seeking to claim compensation for personal data breaches. If you have questions about the topics covered below or would like to begin a claim, please get in touch.
What To Do If My Personal Data Has Been Breached?
Discovering that your personal data has been exposed can be distressing, but it’s important to act quickly and take the necessary steps to protect yourself. You may discover that you’ve fallen victim to wrongful exposure of your personal data in a number of ways, including receiving unexpected emails or phone calls from scammers, noticing unauthorised transactions on your bank account, or being informed by a company that your personal data has been compromised.
If you believe that your personal data has been exposed due to a breach of the UK GDPR, which is enshrined in law in the Data Protection Act 2018, you could report it to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). The ICO is the regulatory body responsible for enforcing data protection laws in the UK and investigating data breaches. However, it’s important to note that the ICO will not usually help with the process of claiming compensation.
If you’re eligible to claim compensation for a personal data breach, it’s up to you to make your own claim. This can be a daunting process, especially if you’re not familiar with the legal system. It’s worth considering hiring a solicitor who specialises in data protection law to help you with your claim. They can provide expert guidance and support throughout the process, increasing the chances of a successful outcome.
How Could A Breach Occur?
Organisations can breach your personal data in various ways, and it’s important to understand how this can happen in order to protect yourself. Here are some common ways that organisations can breach your data:
- Hackers can gain unauthorised access to an organisation’s computer system and steal your personal data.
- Phishing is a technique used by cybercriminals to trick individuals into providing their personal data by posing as a trustworthy entity.
- Sometimes, employees of an organisation can accidentally or intentionally cause a data breach by mishandling data or giving unauthorised access to third parties.
- If an organisation doesn’t have robust security measures in place, such as firewalls or encryption, it can make it easier for hackers to gain access to their systems and steal personal data.
- Organisations often work with third-party service providers to store and process personal data. If these service providers experience a data breach, the personal data they hold can be exposed.
- Personal data can also be breached if physical devices such as laptops, USB drives, or paper files containing sensitive information are stolen.
It’s important to note that organisations have a legal obligation to protect your personal data. If they fail to do so, acting wrongfully, they may be liable for any losses you suffer. To find out if you could be eligible for data breach compensation for personal data breach, contact our advisors. They could assess your case.
Examples Of Data Breach Compensation For Personal Data Breaches
There have been several instances of personal data breaches resulting in compensation payouts for individuals. One notable example is the British Airways data breach in 2018. In this case, hackers gained unauthorised access to the British Airways website and mobile app, compromising the personal and financial information of approximately 429,000 customers.
As a result of the breach, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) fined British Airways £20 million for failing to protect their customers’ personal data under the UK’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Additionally, affected customers could claim compensation for any losses they suffered as a result of the breach.
In 2020, British Airways reached a settlement with the affected customers, which included a compensation payout of up to £6,000 per person. The settlement was agreed to on a “voluntary basis” and did not involve any admission of liability by British Airways.
How Much Data Breach Compensation For Personal Data Breaches Could I Claim?
The amount of compensation that you may receive for an personal data breach is dependent on various factors, including the severity of the breach and the harm suffered. The compensation awarded can include both material and non-material damages. Financial losses like identity theft, fraud, and loss of earnings fall under material damages while emotional distress, anxiety, or loss of privacy come under non-material damages.
When assessing the amount of compensation, the courts will take into consideration the individual’s circumstances and the impact on them. For example, if the data breach resulted in a significant financial loss or severe emotional distress, the compensation awarded may be higher.
It is important to note that there is no fixed amount of compensation for a data breach, and each case is unique. The compensation amount awarded will be based on the individual circumstances of the case.
Calculating Non-Material Damages
To determine the amount of compensation to award for personal injury cases, including emotional distress resulting from a data breach, the Judicial College Guidelines provide a framework for assessment. These guidelines give an indication of the appropriate level of compensation for different types of harm suffered, based on the severity of the injury and its impact on the individual’s life.
For severe psychological harm, the range of compensation could be between £54,830 to £115,730, while moderately severe psychological harm could result in £19,070 to £54,830 compensation. Moderate psychological harm may result in compensation ranging from £5,860 to £19,070, and less severe psychological harm may range from £1,540 to £5,860.
However, it’s essential to note that these figures are only rough indications, and each case is unique. Therefore, it is crucial to consult a specialist data breach solicitor to learn more about how much your claim could be worth. They will assess your case and advise you on the potential compensation you may be entitled to and guide you through the claims process.
Finding No Win No Fee Data Breach Compensation Solicitors For Personal Data Breach Claims
No Win No Fee claims allow individuals to make a claim for compensation without incurring any upfront costs.
Typically, these could be made under Conditional Fee Agreements (CFA). Under a CFA, the solicitor representing you will only be paid if you win the case and compensation is awarded or a settlement is reached. If you lose, you will not typically be required to pay your lawyer for their work. This means that making a claim for compensation is accessible to everyone, regardless of their financial situation.
In 2013, changes were made to the law regarding CFAs, which means that solicitors can only recover a limited percentage of their fees from the compensation awarded to the successful claimant. This is called a ‘success fee.’ You can see the legislation covering Conditional Fee Agreements here.
It’s important to note that success fees can vary between solicitors and cases, so it’s crucial to seek legal advice before proceeding with a No Win No Fee claim. A reputable data breach solicitor will be transparent about their fees and will advise you on the best course of action for your case.
Further Reading On Data Breach Compensation For Personal Data Breaches
Company Data Breach – if a company data breach has harmed you, find out if you could be eligible for compensation here.
Medical Data Breach Claims – Learn about claiming for a medical data breach here.
Identity Theft – Learn whether you could claim for the consequences of identity theft here.
British Airways Data Breach – You can find details of the data breach mentioned above here.
Be Data Aware – Learn more about how to protect your personal data.
Spam Emails And Data Protection – Learn about this important topic from the ICO and understand how to protect your personal data.