If your personal data has been exposed in a personal data breach, you may wonder, “can I claim compensation for a data breach?” Our guide will answer this question and tell you all you need to know about how to make a personal data breach claim. We’ll also discuss personal data breach compensation amounts in the UK and how you could benefit from using a No Win No Fee solicitor.
In the UK, two main articles of legislation govern the processing of personal data. The UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR) sets out the principles we should follow when using personal data and was amended in 2021 due to Brexit. The UK GDPR runs alongside the Data Protection Act 2018.
Our panel of specialist personal data breach lawyers could help you if you have a valid claim. Speak to our advisors for more information. You can speak to them through:
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- Could I Claim Compensation For A Data Breach?
- How Much Could I Get For A Data Breach?
- What Is A Data Breach?
- How Much Time Do I Get To Claim Compensation For A Data Breach?
- Should I Have A No Win No Fee Solicitor?
- Further Guidance On How To Claim Compensation For A Data Breach
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is the independent regulator of the UK’s data protection legislation and can impose fines on organisations that do not comply with data protection law. The ICO’s definition of a personal data breach states that it is a security incident in which the security, integrity, or availability of your personal data is affected, whether deliberately or by human error.
A data controller is an individual or organisation that determines why and how your personal data may be processed, and a data processor processes data on behalf of the data controller. There must be evidence of positive wrongful conduct on the part of the data controller or data processor in order to make a valid UK GDPR breach claim.
However, when you are claiming compensation for a breach of the Data Protection Act or UK GDPR, you must also have suffered financial damage or harm to your mental health in order to claim. Our advisors can offer instant free legal advice with no obligation to use our services.
Using the 2022 edition of the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG), a document used by solicitors to value injuries, we’ve put together a compensation table detailing the guideline compensation brackets provided for the psychological injuries you might suffer as a result of a personal data breach.
Compensation for a data breach claim varies depending on factors such as the severity of your injury and the extent of your treatment. This head of claim is referred to as non-material damage and relates to psychological harm, such as PTSD, that may be exacerbated by a personal data breach incident.
|Severe Psychiatric Damage||£54,830 to £115,730||The level of award within this bracket is determined by your ability to cope with life and work.|
|Moderately Severe Psychiatric Damage||£19,070 to £54,830||Prognosis is slightly better but there will still be a significant impact on relationships with your family, friends and others.|
|Moderate Psychiatric Damage||£5,860 to £19,070||The extent to which treatment is effective influences the level of award within this bracket.|
|Less Severe Psychiatric Damage||£1,540 to £5,860||Daily activities and sleep could be affected.|
|Severe Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder||£59,860 to £100,670||Your quality of life will be greatly affected.|
|Moderately Severe Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder||£23,150 to £59,860||Significant disability is a possibility in the future, however the prognosis is much better.|
|Moderate Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder||£8,180 to £23,150||A recovery will have been made and ongoing effects, if any, will not be detrimental.|
|Less Severe Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder||£3,950 to £8,180||Minor symptoms may continue but a virtual full recovery will have been made within a year or two.|
It’s worth noting that these figures are only guidelines, not guarantees. We’ll explain what else you can claim for in the next part of our guide on how to claim compensation for a data breach. Contact our advisors today to learn more.
What Goes Into A Data Breach Claim?
First, you must be able to prove that your data was accessed as a result of wrongful conduct on the part of the data processor. This means that they must have failed to comply with data breach law, whether that be the UK GDPR or DPA.
When you claim for financial harm caused by a personal data breach, we refer to this as material damages. For example, if a cyber criminal accesses your credit card information, they may use this data to make fraudulent purchases. Subsequently, your credit score rating may suffer. In this case, you could potentially claim these monetary losses back.
While it is important you keep evidence of your financial losses; for example, bank statements and credit score statements, sometimes the full impact of a personal data breach may not be clear until years later. Therefore, you may consider using a personal data breach solicitor so that they can help you think through all the ways the breach may have caused you harm.
Data breaches affect both digital and physical data, and security incidents can happen because of cybercrime or human error. Cybercrime usually occurs through phishing scams or ransomware attacks. However, human error data breaches can happen for a variety of reasons, such as:
- Misuse of BCC: Accidental use of CC instead of BCC when using personal email addresses can cause the exposure of personal data to unauthorised recipients, by exposing personal email addresses.
- A failure to redact information: Documents containing confidential information should be redacted to stop unauthorised access to personal or sensitive data. For example, police forces may redact the name of a witness in a report for their own safety.
- Verbal disclosure: Verbal disclosure may cause a personal data breach if someone hears information they are not authorised to know. For example, if doctors are discussing a patient’s medical record in the open, an unauthorised person in the corridor could overhear what they are talking about.
ICO Data Breach Statistics
The ICO investigates data security incidents and reports on any major concerns or actions that they have taken in response. The latest data security incident trends published by the ICO revealed that:
- In Q4 2021/22, 2,172 data security incidents occurred
- Out of those figures, the majority were non-cyber incidents with 1,696 reports
- The health sector reported the most incidents during this time
Our advisors can value your claim for free and are available to provide free legal advice and help surrounding your compensation claim for a data breach. Speak to our team via the live chat service at the bottom of your screen.
A personal data breach claim generally has a limitation period of 6 years, or 1 year if it’s against a public body. You may be unable to claim if you don’t comply with the limitation period.
Please don’t hesitate to speak to our team if you are unsure about the time limit with your case. Our advisors can offer advice completely free of charge.
There is no obligation to hire a solicitor. However, the experience and knowledge of a No Win No Fee solicitor may make the process of making a data breach claim seem clearer. Under a No Win No Fee service known as a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA), you only need to pay your solicitor a fee if your claim succeeds. In this case, you will pay a success fee which is capped by law.
Get Advice On How To Claim Compensation For A Data Breach
Our advisors can offer a free consultation and advise whether you have a valid compensation claim for a data breach. If your claim is valid, our advisors may connect you with a No Win No Fee solicitor from our panel. Get in touch with us for further information, or you can:
- Call on 0800 408 7827
- Contact us by filling out a form at the top of this page
- Use our live chat service at the bottom of your screen
Ahead of concluding our guide on how to claim compensation for a personal data breach, we thought the following resources might be useful.
Make a complaint – The ICO advises how to make a complaint following a personal data breach.
Mental health services – Access NHS mental health services near you.
Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) – Find out how much SSP you are entitled to for taking sick leave.
Other Data Breach Claim Guides
- Data Breach FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions
- How Much Could My Data Breach Claim Be Worth?
- How To Use A Data Breach Compensation Calculator
- Payouts For Mortgage Broker Data Breach Claims
- How To Report A Data Breach
- How To Claim For A Medical Conditions Data Breach
- Payouts For Debt And Arrears Data Breach Claims
- How To Claim For A Disciplinary Information Data Breach
- Children In Care Data Breach Claims
- A Guide To Police Data Breach Claims
- Trade Union Membership Data Breach Claims
- How To Claim For A Tax Information Data Breach
- Credit Score Data Breach Claims
- No Win No Fee Data Breach Claims Explained
- Can I Claim For A Disciplinary Records Data Breach?
- What Is A Data Protection Breach?
- Can I Claim For An Accountant Data Breach?
- Medical Records Data Breach Claims Explained
- NHS Data Breach Compensation Claims Guide
- Could I Claim For A Sexuality Data Breach?
That concludes our guide on how to claim compensation for a personal data breach. We hope you now feel confident enough about the claims process. Furthermore, you can speak to our team if you are ready to take action.
Publisher Ruth Vernon
Writer Lewis Julius