As technology continues to advance, the collection, storage, and use of personal data has become increasingly prevalent in our daily lives. In the UK, individuals have the right to control how their personal data is handled and protected by organisations. This includes the right to claim compensation in the event of a data breach that exposes their information and causes them harm, either financially or psychologically, or a combination of both. Data breaches can occur in various ways, including hacking, phishing, or human error, and can affect anyone from individuals to large corporations. However, many people are unaware of their data breach compensation rights in the event of a data breach that exposes their data and harms them as a result.
This guide aims to provide insight into the right to claim data breach compensation, including examples of breaches that could lead to a claim, and how an advisor could put you in touch with a data breach solicitor to help you. By reading this guide, you can gain a better understanding of your rights and options when it comes to seeking compensation for data breaches.
If you believe that you have been a victim of a data breach, it is important to take action to protect your rights. We encourage you to read this guide and get in touch if you think you may have a claim for data breach compensation.
What Data Breach Compensation Rights Do I Have Under The Data Protection Act 2018?
The Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA) is a law that governs the collection, use, storage, and disclosure of personal data by organisations. The Act is designed to ensure that individuals have greater control over their personal data and that organisations that hold this data are accountable for how they use it.
Under the DPA, data subjects (individuals whose personal data is held by an organisation) have certain rights, including the right to access their personal data, the right to have inaccurate data corrected, and the right to object to their data being used for direct marketing purposes. Additionally, individuals have the right to claim compensation if they have suffered damage as a result of a breach of the DPA.
To be eligible to claim compensation under the DPA, an individual must be able to demonstrate that they have suffered damage as a result of a breach of the Act. This damage can be physical, financial, or emotional and can include loss of earnings, expenses incurred, or distress caused by the breach.
It’s worth noting that not every breach of the DPA will result in a claim for compensation. The breach must have caused the individual to suffer some form of damage. Additionally, if the organisation responsible for the breach can show that they took reasonable steps to prevent the breach from occurring, they may not be held liable for any resulting damage.
How Long Do My Data Breach Compensation Rights Last For?
It’s also important to be aware of the time limit for claiming under the Limitation Act 1980. Typically, claims for compensation must be made within six years of the breach occurring, however, this could be less if the breach involves a breach of human rights or wrongful action by a public body. This means that it’s important to act quickly if you believe that your personal data has been breached and you wish to claim compensation.
What Types Of Breach Could Lead To A Claim?
There are various types of wrongdoing that could lead to personal data being wrongfully exposed. Here are a few examples:
- Hacking – Cybercriminals may try to gain unauthorised access to computer systems to steal personal data. They can use various hacking techniques, such as malware or phishing scams, to trick users into revealing sensitive information or to exploit vulnerabilities in software.
- Insider Threats – Employees or other insiders may intentionally or unintentionally expose personal data by accessing, copying, or sharing sensitive information without proper authorisation.
- Unsecure Data Storage – Personal data may be exposed if it is stored insecurely, such as on an unencrypted device, or in a public cloud server that is not properly secured.
- Physical Theft – Personal data can also be exposed through physical theft, such as stealing a laptop or a mobile phone that contains sensitive information.
- Human Error – Personal data may be exposed as a result of human error, such as sending an email to the wrong recipient or failing to properly dispose of documents containing sensitive information.
- Misuse of Data – Personal data can also be exposed through the misuse of data by organisations, such as selling personal information to third parties without proper authorisation.
These are just a few examples of wrongdoing that could lead to personal data being wrongfully exposed. If you believe that your personal data has been wrongfully exposed, it’s important to seek professional advice to determine whether you may have a claim for data breach compensation.
Data Breach Incident – Case Study
One example of a data breach is the Blackbaud breach that occurred in 2020. Blackbaud is a third-party service provider that provides cloud-based fundraising software to various universities, schools, and other nonprofit organisations.
In May 2020, Blackbaud discovered that it had been the victim of a ransomware attack, in which hackers had gained access to their system and stolen a copy of their customer database. The database contained personal information of millions of individuals, including names, addresses, phone numbers, donation history, and other sensitive information.
Blackbaud immediately notified its affected customers and worked with law enforcement and cybersecurity experts to investigate the breach and secure their systems. While Blackbaud claimed that the stolen data did not contain financial information, many individuals were still concerned about the exposure of their personal data.
The Blackbaud breach serves as a reminder of the importance of maintaining robust cybersecurity measures and being vigilant about third-party service providers that handle sensitive personal data. Organisations must take proactive steps to protect their customers’ data and promptly notify them of any potential data breaches.
Your Data Breach Compensation Rights – What Damages Could You Receive?
In a data breach claim, damages refer to the compensation that the victim is entitled to receive for the harm that they have suffered as a result of the breach. Damages can be calculated based on the financial losses that the victim has incurred, as well as the emotional distress and inconvenience that they have experienced.
Calculating damages in a data breach claim can be complex, and it’s important to seek professional advice from data breach solicitors who can help you determine the appropriate level of compensation. Some factors that may be considered when calculating damages include:
- Financial losses – This includes any out-of-pocket expenses incurred as a result of the breach, such as the cost of credit monitoring services, legal fees, and expenses related to correcting inaccurate credit reports.
- Emotional distress – This includes the emotional harm caused by the breach, such as anxiety, stress, and loss of sleep.
In calculating non-material damages, the Judicial College Guidelines can be useful. These guidelines provide a framework for calculating compensation in personal injury claims, and they can also be applied in data breach claims to help determine an appropriate level of compensation based on the severity of the harm suffered.
You can see the guidelines for psychological injuries based on the level of severity below. Please note that these are only rough guidelines, however.
- Severe psychological harm- £54,830 to £115,730
- Moderately severe psychological harm- – £19,070 to £54,830
- Moderate psychological harm– £5,860 to £19,070
- Less Severe psychological harm- – £1,540 to £5,860
Overall, the amount of damages that a victim may be entitled to will depend on the specific circumstances of the data breach, as well as the nature and extent of the harm that they have suffered.
No Win No Fee Claims For Data Breach Compensation – Your Rights
A No Win No Fee agreement, also known as a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA), is an agreement between a claimant and a solicitor. Under this agreement, the solicitor agrees to represent the claimant and pursue their claim for compensation, without requiring the claimant to pay any upfront fees.
The legislation that governs No Win No Fee claims is the Conditional Fee Agreements Order 2013. This legislation caps the success fee a solicitor could receive for obtaining compensation in personal injury claims, including claims for data breaches.
To make a No Win No Fee claim for a data breach, the first step is to seek professional advice from a data breach solicitor who offers this type of agreement. The solicitor will assess the strength of your claim and determine whether a No Win No Fee agreement is appropriate.
If the solicitor agrees to take on your case, they will provide you with a written agreement that outlines the terms and conditions of the No Win No Fee arrangement. It’s important to read and understand this agreement carefully before signing it.
Our advisors can connect you with a data breach solicitor who offers No Win No Fee agreements. Why not get in touch to begin your claim today?
Further Information On Your Data Breach Compensation Rights
Your Rights To Make A Complaint – The ICO takes you through the process of complaining about the use of your data.
Access Your Personal Information – Learn about your rights to access your own data.
Rights For Data Subjects – The government has also provided a guide to your rights.
Data Breach Solicitors – Learn more about how a solicitor could help you.
Data Breach Compensation Amounts – Find out how much you could claim.
Personal Data Has Been Breached – Learn what to do if you believe your data has been breached.