Medical data breaches can have serious consequences, not just for the individuals affected but also for healthcare providers. A medical data breach is a violation of patient data that occurs when unauthorised parties access, steal or disclose sensitive medical information. Such breaches can cause both material and non-material damages to the affected individuals. In this guide, we’ll discuss medical data breach compensation examples and show how compensation for these damages is calculated.
We also cover the eligibility criteria for claiming, the limitation period that could apply to such a claim, and advise on making a claim under a No Win No Fee agreement. You can call an advisor to check if you believe you may have a valid claim for data breach compensation. They could connect you with a solicitor from our panel to help you make a claim. You can reach us by:
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Who Could Claim Medical Data Breach Compensation – Examples
Healthcare providers must abide by the Data Protection Act 2018. This is an important piece of legislation that enacts into UK law the UK GDPR, one of the strictest data protection laws in the world.
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) enforces UK data protection laws. It can investigate organisations that breach them. When a medical data breach is reported, the ICO can take steps to determine the cause and extent of the breach and evaluate the responsible party’s preventative measures. If a breach is found, the ICO can take enforcement action. This can include issuing fines or mandating specific actions.
Reporting a breach to the ICO doesn’t automatically lead to compensation for affected individuals. To claim compensation, you must file a compensation claim against the provider. The ICO takes medical data breaches seriously, but individuals must take action themselves to seek compensation for damages.
To be eligible for medical data breach compensation, the claimant must prove that their data has been breached and that they have suffered damage as a result. The claimant must also show that the healthcare provider responsible for the breach was negligent in their duty to protect the patient’s data.
How Long Do I Have To Claim For A Medical Data Breach?
The time limit for claiming medical data breach compensation varies. Generally, claimants have up to six years to launch a claim – although this is shorter for cases against public bodies – starting from the date of the breach. However, this may be extended in some cases, such as if the claimant was under 18 at the time of the breach.
To find out how long you could have to claim medical data breach compensation, call our advisors.
Medical Data Breach Compensation – Examples Of What You Could Claim For
Should you be harmed because a healthcare provider has wrongfully failed to protect your data from being exposed, you could be eligible to seek medical data breach compensation. Examples of the causes of medical data breaches could include:
- Employee Misconduct – Sometimes, a healthcare provider’s employee may intentionally or unintentionally breach patient confidentiality by accessing or disclosing sensitive medical information without authorisation.
- Lost or Stolen Devices – If a healthcare provider loses or has their device stolen that contains patient medical data, this could lead to a medical data breach.
- Third-Party Access – Healthcare providers may sometimes share patient data with third parties. Should someone access or disclose this data without authorisation, it could cause a medical data breach.
- Failure to Secure Paperwork – Although electronic medical records are becoming more common, paper is still used in some healthcare settings. If these paper records are not properly secured, they could become lost. Or, they could be accessed by unauthorised parties, resulting in a medical data breach.
These are just a few examples of the kinds of medical data breaches that could result in a compensation claim. If you have been affected by a medical data breach, you may want to speak with our helpline. That way, you could determine if you are eligible for compensation.
Medical Data Breach Example
An example of a medical data breach that the ICO has acted on relates to Dispensary Doctors Limited. In December 2019, the Information Commissioner’s Office fined the company £275,000 for breaching data protection laws.
They found that the company had stored somewhere in the region of 500,000 patient documents in unlocked containers at its premises. The documents, which included medical records, were not secure and could be accessed by anyone who gained access to their premises.
The ICO also found that they hadn’t replied to some data subject access requests, where people had requested access to their personal information.
Because of this breach, patients’ sensitive medical information was left vulnerable and at risk of being accessed or misused by people without the authority to do so. Affected individuals may have suffered non-material harm due to this, such as anxiety or distress.
This is an example of a medical data breach that could result in eligible claimants pursuing a compensation claim for the harm caused by the breach.
Medical Data Breach Compensation Amount – How Much Could I Receive?
A successful medical data breach claim can result in a payout for both material and non-material damages. Material damages refer to financial losses suffered as a result of the breach, such as the cost of identity theft protection or other expenses incurred in rectifying the breach.
Non-material damages refer to psychological harm caused by the breach, such as stress, anxiety, or even post-traumatic stress disorder.
Legal professionals could refer to the Judicial College Guidelines to determine an approximation of non-material damages in a medical data breach claim. The guidelines provide a framework for calculating compensation amounts for different types of injuries, including psychological harm.
For this type of injury, the JCG places injuries into levels based on how severe they are. The JCG provides guideline compensation ranges for each level.
For example, for minor psychological harm, the compensation range is typically between £1,540 and £5,860. This level of harm includes symptoms such as minor anxiety, distress, or sleep disturbance, which are short-lived and don’t require any professional intervention.
For moderate psychological harm, the compensation range is usually between £5,860 and £19,070.
Legal professionals can use these guidelines to assess the level of harm suffered by the claimant and estimate the potential compensation amount they may be entitled to for non-material damages.
By considering the severity and duration of the psychological harm, they can determine which category the injury falls into and use the relevant compensation range as a starting point for negotiations with the healthcare provider’s insurers.
Start A No Win No Fee Medical Data Breach Compensation Claim Today
Using a data breach solicitor to claim for a medical data breach has several benefits. Firstly, solicitors have experience and expertise in this area of law, meaning they can provide professional legal advice and representation throughout the claims process. They can help claimants understand their legal rights and options, gather evidence, and negotiate with healthcare providers and their insurers to obtain a fair settlement.
Claiming under a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA), also known as a No Win No Fee agreement, is one option that can benefit claimants financially. Under a CFA, the solicitor agrees to represent the claimant without charging upfront fees or costs. Instead, the solicitor takes a percentage of the compensation awarded if the claim is successful. If the claim is unsuccessful, the claimant doesn’t have to pay the solicitor’s fees.
CFAs can be particularly helpful for individuals who may not have the financial resources to pay for legal representation upfront or who are concerned about the costs of pursuing a claim. It also gives claimants confidence that their solicitor has a vested interest in winning the case, as they won’t receive payment if the claim is unsuccessful.
If you want to know more about making a No Win No Fee medical data breach claim in England and Wales, our team is available to help. An advisor can evaluate your claim and connect you with a solicitor from our panel if you have a valid claim.
There are a few ways to get in touch with us:
Learn More About Medical Data Breach Compensation Examples
To find out more about medical data breach compensation examples, you could read some of the below guides. We have also included some external resources you may find interesting.
Data Breaches Guidance From The National Cyber Security Centre – Here you can read what the NCSC advises if you’ve suffered a data breach.
Data Protection Complaint Guidance – Find out what the government advises with regards to complaining about a data breach.
Security Breaches – ICO– This page provides further information on security breaches.
Human Error Data Breaches – This guide explains how affected claimants could receive compensation for data protection breaches caused by human error.
Medical Conditions Data Breach – If you’ve been impacted because your medical conditions have been exposed to unauthorised parties, this guide could help.
How Much Is My Data Breach Worth? – Finally, find out more about calculating compensation for a data breach claim.