A Guide To Data Breach Compensation Law

Data breach compensation law is an area of legal practice that deals with the compensation available to individuals whose personal data has been compromised due to the negligence or intentional actions of data controllers. In the UK, there is legislation in place that data controllers must follow when processing personal data. This legislation includes the UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018.

A data breach can occur when personal data is accessed, disclosed, or lost due to a breach of security, and such an incident can have significant consequences for the individuals whose data is involved. In such circumstances, individuals have the right to make a claim for compensation against the data controller if they have acted wrongfully.

data breach compensation lawThis guide will cover all the essential information on data breach compensation law in the UK, including the limitation periods for making a claim, the legal framework surrounding the UK GDPR, and the various ways individuals can claim compensation, including under a Conditional Fee Agreement or a No Win No Fee agreement with the assistance of data breach solicitors.

We also explain how our advisors could assist you if you have a valid claim for data breach compensation. Should you have questions about this guide, or you’d like to obtain an eligibility check on your case, you can reach an advisor in any of the following ways.

An Overview Of Data Breach Compensation Law In The UK

Data breach compensation law is a legal framework that allows individuals to claim compensation when their data has been exposed due to the negligence or intentional actions of an organisation. A data breach occurs when an individual’s personal data is accessed, disclosed, or lost without their consent or knowledge. The exposure of personal data can cause significant harm, both materially and non-materially, such as financial loss, identity theft, and psychological distress.

To make a successful data breach compensation claim, an individual must prove that the organisation acted wrongfully in exposing their data, causing material or non-material damage. This can include failures to implement adequate security measures or breaches of data protection legislation.

The Data Protection Act 2018 and the UK GDPR are the main pieces of legislation that govern data protection and the processing of personal data in the UK. These laws set out the obligations of organisations when handling personal data, including requirements for data security and the need to report data breaches to the relevant authorities.

The Limitation Act 1980 sets out the time limits for bringing legal claims, including data breach compensation claims. Generally, claims must be brought within six years of the date of the breach or within three years of the date that the individual became aware of the breach.

The Conditional Fee Agreements Order 2013 allows individuals to pursue a data breach compensation claim on a No Win No Fee basis. This means that if the claim is unsuccessful, the individual will not be required to pay their solicitor’s fees.

In summary, data breach compensation law provides a legal mechanism for individuals to seek compensation when their data has been exposed due to an organisation’s negligence or intentional actions. To find out if you could have a claim, why not contact our advisors?

Types Of Breaches That Could Lead To Personal Data Being Exposed

There are several types of wrongful action that could lead to personal data being exposed, including human error, malicious acts, or wrongful actions relating to computerised data. Human error could include mistakenly sending an email or letter to the wrong recipient, or failing to properly dispose of physical records containing personal data. Malicious acts could include hacking, phishing, or theft of devices containing personal data. Wrongful actions relating to computerised data could include failing to install security updates or using weak passwords.

Breaches of personal data can happen in a range of organisations, including universities, employers, and government agencies. For example, universities may hold personal data on their students and staff, such as names, addresses, and financial information. A breach of this data could result in identity theft or financial fraud.

Employers may hold personal data on their employees, such as payroll information or medical records. A breach of this data could result in financial harm or discrimination. Government agencies may hold personal data such as tax records or criminal records. A breach of this data could result in significant harm to an individual’s reputation or livelihood.

Does Data breach Compensation Law Cover Non Cyber Related Breaches?

Data protection law covers breaches that happen electronically as well as non-electronically. This means that if an individual’s personal data is compromised, regardless of how it occurred, they may have a right to claim compensation under data protection laws.

What Can I Claim For Under Data Breach Compensation Law?

If your personal data has been breached, you may be entitled to compensation for a range of damages. These could include financial losses resulting from the breach, such as unauthorised charges or identity theft, as well as non-financial losses, such as reputational damage or emotional distress.

Examples of financial losses that could entitle you to compensation include the cost of credit monitoring or identity theft protection. Non-financial losses that could entitle you to compensation include damage to reputation, embarrassment, and emotional distress caused by the breach.

Compensation For Emotional Distress

Proving emotional harm can be challenging, but it’s still possible to claim compensation if you can demonstrate that the breach caused you to suffer psychological injury. You may need to provide evidence such as medical reports or testimony from a mental health professional. Compensation amounts for emotional harm can vary based on several factors, such as the duration and severity of the distress, its impact on your life, and any medical or psychological evidence presented.

Legal practitioners have a set of guidelines to refer to when assessing compensation for non-financial damages caused by a data breach, known as the Judicial College Guidelines. When determining the level of damages, several factors are taken into account, including the length and severity of the distress, how it has affected the victim’s life, and any medical or psychological evidence that has been presented.

The Guidelines also offer a range of potential compensation amounts based on the level of distress experienced. For instance:

  • Severe Psychological Injury (General) – £54,830 to £115,730
  • Moderately Severe Psychological Injury (General)  – £19,070 to £54,830
  • Moderate Psychological Injury (General) – £5,860 to £19,070
  • Less Severe Psychological Injury (General) – £1,540 to £5,860

To determine how much compensation you may be entitled to, it’s best to speak with a legal professional who can guide you through the claims process. The above are only meant to serve as rough guidelines, and the compensation you could receive may vary.

No Win No Fee Data Breach Compensation Claims

In the event of a data breach, you may be entitled to compensation for harm caused. However, the prospect of pursuing a claim for data breach compensation can be intimidating, especially if you’re concerned about the costs associated with getting a lawyer to work on your claim.

Fortunately, a No Win No Fee agreement can help alleviate some of these concerns. A No Win No Fee agreement, also known as a Conditional Fee Agreement, allows you to make a claim without having to pay any upfront fees for your solicitor’s work. Instead, your lawyer will only receive a fee if your claim is successful, and this fee will be deducted from your compensation award.

Our panel of experienced data breach solicitors can assist you in making a claim under a No Win No Fee agreement if you meet the eligibility criteria. An advisor can offer expert guidance on the strength of your claim, the amount of compensation you may be entitled to, and assist you through the claims process.

If you’re uncertain whether you qualify to make a claim or want to learn more about how we can assist you, reach out to us today. Our friendly team of specialists is available to answer any questions you may have and provide you with the support and assistance you need to pursue a successful data breach claim.

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Further Insight Into Data Breach Compensation Law

Finally, you can find some useful resources on data protection law and claims for data breaches below.

Stress Due To A Data Breach – Here, you can learn about claiming for stress.

How Much Compensation Could My Data Breach Claim Be Worth? – You can learn about making a claim and how much compensation you could receive here.

Medical Data Breach Examples – Find out how to claim for a medical data breach here.

What Is Personal Data? – Find out what types of data could be considered personal.

Special Category Data – Learn what data is classed as being special and should be afforded a higher level of data protection.

Personal Data Breaches – Learn about how breaches happen and how people should respond to them.