Examples Of An Accidental Data Breach – When Can You Claim?

The risks of accidental data breaches are something all organisations should be aware of. Accidental data breaches occur when sensitive information is unintentionally exposed. Examples of an accidental data breach could include data security incidents in workplaces, financial institutions, local government and healthcare sectors, to name just a few examples. They can cause harm to both individuals and organisations alike.

Accidental data breaches can happen in different ways. Incidents can include the accidental destruction of personal data, sending information to the wrong recipient, and mistakenly posting sensitive information online. Additionally, the accidental destruction of personal data could happen, leading to the loss of personal information due to unintended deletion, hardware loss, or other accidental causes.

accidental data breach examplesBelow, we guide you on how to make a claim for an accidental data breach. We provide accidental data breach examples and explain the different types of breaches, including accidental destruction of personal data. Furthermore, we discuss what you should do if you suffer harm from an accidental data breach at work or in another setting.

If you’ve suffered material or non-material harm due to an accidental data breach this guide will help you understand the process of making a claim for data breach compensation. It will help you navigate the complexities of accidental data breaches and understand your rights.

Our goal is to equip you with the tools and knowledge needed to take the necessary steps to seek compensation and protect your interests in the event of an accidental data breach. Should you have any questions after reading, you can get in touch with an advisor at any time.

Can I Claim Compensation For An Accidental Data Breach – Examples?

The protection of personal data is governed by the Data Protection Act 2018, which enshrines in UK law the application of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR). This legislation establishes the responsibilities of data controllers and processors in protecting personal data.

Data controllers and processors must adhere to a number of principles when handling personal data. Some of these include having a lawful basis for processing and ensuring data transparency for those whose data they process.

If a data controller or processor violates data protection laws, you may be able to pursue a data breach claim. To do so, you must prove that the data controller or processor engaged in wrongful conduct and failed to take reasonable measures to protect your data, leading to a breach of your personal data and resulting in financial losses or psychological harm. While a data breach may seem accidental, examples of when they were deemed the fault of an organisation are covered in the sections below.

If you think you have a valid claim, our advisors can help determine your eligibility during a free consultation. We do not require you to make a claim with us after the consultation. You can speak with one of our advisors at any time.

Time Limits For Accidental Data Breach Compensation Claims

Accidental data breaches can be a distressing experience for anyone, causing both emotional and financial harm. If you suffer financial harm or emotional distress after a data breach, you may be eligible for compensation. If you are eligible to claim it’s important to note that there are time limits in place for taking action.

Typically, the time limit for claiming compensation following an accidental data breach is six years from the breach. It’s worth noting that time limits are not always fixed at 6 years. In some cases, the time limit may be shorter. Therefore, seeking legal advice promptly is crucial to avoid missing deadlines.

Accidental Data Breach – Examples Of How A Breach Could Happen

An accidental data breach can occur due to various reasons. These can include human errors, a technical failure, or even a cyber-attack. Regardless of the cause, the consequences of an accidental data breach can be severe. They can result in financial harm, as well as emotional distress. To avoid accidental data breaches, it’s crucial to understand the examples of how they can occur.

One of the most common examples of an accidental data breach is when someone sends an email to the wrong recipient.

This type of incident can happen when an employee mistakenly sends an email containing sensitive or personal data to an unintended recipient.

This can result in the data being exposed to unauthorised parties, leading to a data breach.

Another example of an accidental data breach is losing a device that contains sensitive or personal data. Such a device might be a laptop, smartphone, or USB drive. This could fall into someone else’s hands, and they could gain unauthorised access.

Accidental destruction of personal data is also a common cause of data breaches. This can occur if employees accidentally delete important data.

Accidental Data Breach – Case Study

Examples of an accidental data breach that lead to a fine could include the following:

The University of Greenwich had a data breach that affected approximately 20,000 individuals. A microsite that was developed by a student to assist a training conference was not secured or deactivated after the event, leaving it vulnerable. Attackers exploited the site’s vulnerability to gain access to other parts of the network server. The ICO investigated and fined the University £120,000.

Examples Of Accidental Data Breach Compensation Payouts

If you have been a victim of an accidental data breach, you may be curious about the compensation you can claim. If eligible, you can pursue both non-material and material damage claims.

Material damage claims are for financial losses incurred as a result of a personal data breach. For example, your credit score may be damaged, or loans taken out in your name may cause you to fall into debt and arrears.

Non-material damage claims are for psychological injuries resulting from a personal data breach. These may include stress, anxiety, distress, and in severe cases, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

To get an estimate of the value of your claim, you may consider using a data breach compensation calculator. Additionally, we have provided guideline compensation brackets for different types of psychological harm.

The figures are based on Judicial College Guidelines (JCG). The JCG provides compensation brackets for various physical and mental injuries, which can assist solicitors in assigning a value to the non-material damage head of the claim.

  • 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

For further insight into your own compensation payout, please call an advisor.

No Win No Fee Accidental Data Breach Claims – How To Claim

Receiving the compensation you deserve is a right, and financial barriers shouldn’t prevent you from seeking legal representation. You can opt for a No Win No Fee agreement to fund a solicitor’s services without worrying about hidden costs or an upfront fee.

A No Win No Fee solicitor will explain the costs involved before initiating legal proceedings, ensuring you know exactly what will happen if your claim is successful. If your claim is successful, the solicitor’s fee will come from your compensation and is legally capped at 25% under the Conditional Fee Agreements Order 2013. You don’t need to pay any fee if the claim fails.

Our panel of data breach solicitors provides No Win No Fee agreements for every claim they accept. Our advisors can verify if you have a valid claim and connect you to a solicitor from our panel. Please use the following methods to connect with our team regarding examples of accident data breach claims:

  • Use our live chat function for immediate help
  • Call 0800 408 7827
  • Contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation

Learn More About Accidental Data Breaches

Here, we provide further examples of accidental data breach case studies, as well as internal guides. All these could assist you in determining whether you could be eligible for data breach compensation.

Make A Complaint – This page on the government’s website explains how to complain about a data breach.

Guide To Data Protection – This ICO guide explains all about data protection. It explains what data controllers need to take into account when collecting and using personal data.

Greenwich University Data Breach – Details of the action taken by the ICO after the aforementioned Greenwich University data breach.

Data Security Incident Trends – You can gain further insight into how common certain types of data breaches are on the ICO website.

Data Breach FAQs – Some frequent questions about data breach claims are answered in this useful guide.

What Is A Data Protection Breach? – Find out the definition of a data protection breach and answers to other common questions here.

Disciplinary Records Data Breach – Learn about making a claim for an accidental data breach concerning disciplinary records here.