Have you been financially or psychologically harmed after a private company data breach? This guide will examine what rights you have to seek damages if you are able to show how a private business failed to adequately safeguard your personal data.
The two main pieces of legislation that protect data rights for UK residents are the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA) and the UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR). Data protection legislation such as this is explained and enforced for all organisations by an independent body called the Information Commissioners Office (ICO).
Although the ICO can issue fines against organisations that fail to correctly apply data protection principles, it does not handle claims and does not provide compensation.
Our team of advisors can tell you if you could have a valid claim, and they can also provide free legal advice. If your claim is valid, they can also connect you with an expert solicitor from our friendly panel. Find out how to start now by getting in touch:
Choose A Section
- Can I Make A Private Company Data Breach Claim?
- When Am I Eligible To Claim For A Data Breach?
- Private Company Data Breach – Potential Compensation Amounts
- What Could I Do After Experiencing A Private Company Data Breach?
- Why Claim For A Data Breach On A No Win No Fee Basis?
- Learn More About Data Breach Claims
If the availability, confidentiality, or integrity of your personal data is affected by a security incident, this is a personal data breach.
This covers all types of personal data, which is information that could be used alone or in conjunction with other details to identify you. This also includes a kind of personal data called special category data, which needs extra protection according to the above legislation. Special category data can include information such as your sexuality, or your trade union membership. Private companies may collect and process a variety of your personal data.
However, the UK GDPR states that in order to make a claim, the breach must include your personal data, and it must be caused by the data controller and data processor’s failings. Data controllers are organisations that decide why and how your personal data is used. Likewise, data processors process this information by following the data controller’s instructions.
You must also experience harm because of the breach in order to claim. This could be financial harm, such as lost earnings, or harm to your mental health. To find out if you could be eligible to claim for a private company data breach, contact our advisors today.
There are many ways that a private company data breach could occur. However, as we have already mentioned, there are some criteria that your claim has to meet in order to be eligible. For example, the breach has to be a result of positive wrongful conduct on the part of the data controller or processor. For example:
- Data misdelivery: An employee may send a document containing your personal data to the wrong email address. This allows the recipient to access your personal data.
- Cyberattack: Not all cyberattacks form eligible claims. However, if an organisation fails to employ adequate cybersecurity policies, and this allows cybercriminals to steal your personal data, you may be able to claim.
- Lost or stolen devices: Personal data can be stored on portable devices such as USB drives, laptops, mobile phones, and computers. If these devices are lost or stolen as a result of poor security, this could result in a personal data breach.
To find out if you could make a private company data breach claim, get in touch with our advisors today.
Compensatio in personal data breach claims falls into two categories. These are material damage and non-material damage. Non-material damage offers compensation for the impact that the breach has had on your mental health. A personal data breach can cause significant effects, such as stress, anxiety, and depression.
You may be wondering how much compensation your claim could be worth. In terms of non-material damage, the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG) can help provide a gist of what your claim could be worth. The JCG provides legal professionals with guidelines for valuing claims, including guideline compensation amounts for psychological injuries.
|Type of Injury||Supporting Notes||Severity and Award Level from JC Guidelines|
|Psychiatric Damage - General||The person will suffer severe effects in areas of their life such as work and relationships||(A) Severe - £54,830 to £115,730
|Psychiatric Damage - General||A better prognosis than above but still representative of a serious and long-standing disability||(B) Moderately Severe - £19,070 to £54,830|
|Psychiatric Damage - General||Similar issues that see a marked improvement by the time the case may need to be heard in court||(C) Moderate - £5,860 to £19,070|
|Psychiatric Damage - General||This bracket is reflective of how long the disability lasted and whether it caused other phobias or anxiety issues||(D) Less Severe - £1,540 to £5,860|
|Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)||A profound and permanent trauma response that impacts all levels of the person's life||(A) Severe - £59,860 to £100,670|
|PTSD||As significant as the bracket above, but some improvement seen after professional counselling||(B) Moderately Severe - £23,150 to £59,860|
|PTSD||On the whole, a recovery with any persisting issues being non-disabling||(C) Moderate - £8,180 to £23,150|
|PTSD||A full recovery within 1 - 2 years and minor issues only persisting beyond this period||(D) Less Severe - £3,950 to £8,180|
These amounts are guidelines only and are not guaranteed.
Can I Also Claim For Material Damage?
Material damage is the second head of claim, and this aims to compensate you for the financial impacts you suffer because of the breach. For example, a personal data breach could lead to you:
- Seeing funds stolen from your bank account or credit card
- Suffering damage to your credit score
- Encountering other debts or arrears
Our advisors can provide you with a free evaluation of what your claim could be worth when you get in touch today. They can also provide free legal advice and guidance on using a data breach compensation calculator.
You may be wondering about the steps that you could take following a personal data breach. If you are notified of a breach, or if you come across a breach of your personal data, you can:
- Make a complaint directly to the organisation. Following this, they could provide you with more information.
- If their response is not satisfactory, or if they don’t respond at all, you can make a complaint to the ICO. They do not handle compensation, but they may investigate the breach, and they may fine the organisation responsible.
- Wait no longer than three months from your last meaningful contact with the organisation to contact the ICO.
- Gathering evidence can also help your claim. For example, medical records that show that you have suffered depression, anxiety, or other medical conditions as a result of the breach. Or, bank statements that show the financial harm you suffer.
You can also seek legal advice following a personal data breach. Our team offer free legal advice and more help surrounding making a private company data breach claim.
Our panel of No Win No Fee solicitors offer their services with the assistance of a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). Typically, a CFA solicitor provides you with legal representation but does not require upfront fees or ongoing costs. You only pay a fee in the case of a successful claim. A success fee under a CFA is taken from your compensation award. But, non-successful claims do not pay this fee.
If your claim is valid, our advisors can put you in contact with a solicitor from our panel when you get in touch today.
Find out if you could be eligible to benefit from a No Win No Fee agreement by getting in touch with our team of advisors today. To learn more or start your private company data breach claim:
If you would like to read more on this topic, the articles below can help:
- GP data breach claims
- Top tips for making a university data breach claim
- Making a claim for a social services data breach
In addition to this, read more resources such as:
- ICO – Your data matters
- GOV – Cyber security breaches survey 2022
- National Cyber Security Centre – Data breach guidance
For more information on making a private company data breach claim, get in touch today.
Writer Jeff Wilders
Editor Cat Hunt