This guide looks at when you could claim for a data breach by a solicitor. We discuss the eligibility requirements and the steps you can take to strengthen your potential case, including gathering evidence and seeking legal advice.
There are certain entities that have a responsibility to protect your personal data, known as data controllers and data processors.
Each has a different role with a data controller deciding on the purpose for processing and the data processor processing the data on the controller’s behalf. They both need to adhere to the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA) and UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR).
A failure to do so could result in a breach of your personal data. We will provide examples of what personal data a solicitor could hold, as well as how it could be breached, in further detail throughout this guide.
To find out more, please continue reading. Alternatively, you can get in touch with an advisor for free legal advice regarding your potential claim. They are available 24/7 and you can reach them by:
- Calling 0800 408 7827
- Filling out our contact form
- Speaking with an advisor via the live chat function.
Browse Our Guide
- What Is The Eligibility Criteria When Claiming For A Data Breach By A Solicitor?
- What Is A Data Breach By A Solicitor?
- Potential Compensation Payouts
- What Evidence Can I Use To Sue For A Data Breach?
- Our Panel Of Data Breach Solicitors Could Help You Claim On A No Win No Fee Basis
- Learn More About Claiming Data Breach Compensation
In order to make a personal data breach claim, you must be able to demonstrate the following:
- A data controller or processor didn’t adhere to data protection law
- This resulted in a data breach which compromised your personal data
- You experienced monetary losses or emotional harm as a result.
Personal data is information that can be used to identify you, such as your name, email address, postal address, phone number and National Insurance number.
Additionally, there is another type of personal data called special category data which requires more protection due to it’s sensitive nature. This can include personal data revealing your racial or ethnic origin or concerning your sexual orientation.
If you have evidence that your personal data was compromised and you experienced damage as a result, get in touch with an advisor using the details provided above.
A personal data breach can be defined as a security incident in which the integrity, availability and confidentiality of your personal data is affected. There are different types and ways in which they could occur, such as through a cyber attack or human error.
Examples of how a data breach could occur include:
- A solicitor fails to securely store a physical file containing sensitive information resulting in another person accessing it without authorisation.
- A copy of your medical records which have been accessed as evidence in your case are emailed to the wrong email address.
- Witness statements containing your personal information are posted to the wrong postal address.
It’s important to note that not all instances of your personal data being compromised will form the basis of a valid claim. Call our team to find out whether you could be eligible to seek compensation.
The data breach settlement you could receive after making a successful claim could consist of compensation for the following:
- Material damage: This refers to the financial losses you have experienced as a result of the breach. For example, if your credit card or debit card details are stolen, this could lead to loans being taken out in your name and damage to your credit score. You could claim these costs back, provided you have evidence, such as bank statements.
- Non-material damage: This refers to the emotional suffering you have experienced as a result of the breach. For example, you could experience distress, anxiety and stress after a data breach by a solicitor. Medical records detailing the psychological injury you experienced could help support your claim.
In order to accurately calculate how much compensation for non-material damage you are owed, solicitors can use the Judicial College Guidelines.
This publication contains guideline compensation brackets. We have used some of these in the table below. Please only use them as a guide.
|Type of Harm||Severity and Guideline Bracket||Notes|
|General Psychiatric Damage||(a) Severe - £54,830 to £115,730||The person experiences a significant impact across several areas of life. They will also have a very poor prognosis.|
|General Psychiatric Damage||(b) Moderately Severe - £19,070 to £54,830||Significant problems with different areas of life but with a better prognosis.|
|General Psychiatric Damage||(c) Moderate - £5,860 to £19,070||Significant improvement despite their being similar issues to the above brackets and a good prognosis.|
|General Psychiatric Damage||(d) Less Severe - £1,540 to £5,860||Consideration is given to how long someone is affected and the extent of their suffering.|
|Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)||(a) Severe - £59,860 to £100,670||The person cannot function the same as before the trauma.|
|PTSD||(b) Moderately Severe - £23,150 to £59,860||A better prognosis due to receiving professional help.|
|PTSD||(c) Moderate - £8,180 to £23,150||There may be ongoing issues but these won't be majorly disabling and the person will have largely recovered.|
|PTSD||(d) Less Severe - £3,950 to £8,180||Almost a full recovery within 1 - 2 years and symptoms persisting beyond this are minor.|
If you have been affected following a personal data breach, you could take the following steps to strengthen your potential claim:
- Keep all the correspondence between you and the solicitor about the data breach, such as letters and emails.
- Have psychological injuries assessed by a professional and request a copy of medical records.
- Keep all receipts, bills and statements that prove any monetary losses.
Additionally, you could report the data breach to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). The ICO is an independent body that is responsible for upholding the rights and freedoms of data subjects. They can investigate and fine any organisation that fails to properly adhere to data protection law. Their findings can be used to support your potential claim.
Furthermore, you could benefit from working with a solicitor from our panel. They can offer services such as helping you gather evidence and guiding you through the different stages of the claims process.
Call our team to find out more about the steps you can take following a personal data breach. They can also advise further on how a solicitor could help you.
Typically, this allows you to avoid paying fees for your solicitor’s services upfront, while the claim proceeds or if the claim does not win.
If your claim has a successful outcome, you will pay a success fee from your compensation. This fee is subject to a legal cap.
For more information on whether you could work with a solicitor from our panel, get in touch with an advisor. They can also answer any questions you might have regarding eligibility and the compensation you could be awarded.
To reach them, you can:
Please find more of our guides below:
- Payouts for mortgage broker data breach claims
- Can I claim compensation for an accountant data breach?
- How to use a data breach compensation calculator
Additionally, please find more external resources below:
- GOV- Cyber security data breaches survey 2022
- ICO – Make a complaint
- National Cyber Security Centre – Tips for staying secure online
Thank you for reading this guide on whether you could be eligible to claim following a data breach by a solicitor. For more information, please get in touch using the details provided above.
Writer Jeff Wallowing
Editor Meg Morgan