In today’s digital age, the importance of medical data privacy cannot be overstated. With the increasing use of electronic health records and online medical services, the risk of data breaches and thefts has also risen. Unfortunately, medical data breaches do occur, and they can have severe consequences for patients whose sensitive information has been compromised. If your medical records have been stolen, it can be a worrying and stressful experience, and you may be wondering what steps you can take to seek compensation for the harm caused.
This guide provides insight into the legal avenues available for those affected by medical data breaches.
In England and Wales, victims harmed by the wrongful acts of a medical services provider concerning data theft can seek compensation for the damages caused. This guide will outline the eligibility criteria for making a claim, the damages that could be claimed, and examples of a data theft incident that resulted in a fine for a pharmacy by the ICO breaches.
Moreover, the guide will offer guidance on making a No Win No Fee claim with our panel of experienced solicitors. A No Win No Fee agreement allows you to make a claim without having to pay any upfront legal fees, providing peace of mind and ensuring you can pursue justice without having to pay for a lawyer’s work upfront.
Whether you’re unsure if you’re eligible to claim, or you simply want to learn more about how to proceed after a medical data breach, this guide is a valuable resource. Our friendly team of experts is also available to answer any questions and provide you with the support and guidance you need.
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Who Could Claim Compensation When Medical Records Have Been Stolen?
When medical records are stolen, it is a serious breach of privacy that can cause significant harm to the individuals affected. Anyone who has had their medical records stolen could be eligible to claim compensation for the harm caused by the wrongful acts of a medical services provider in relation to data theft.
This could include patients whose medical records have been stolen from hospitals, clinics, or other medical facilities, as well as individuals who have had their medical records stolen by hackers or other third parties. The harm caused by medical record theft can include financial loss, emotional distress, and even physical harm if the stolen information is used to commit medical identity theft.
To make a successful data breach compensation claim, you must be able to prove that the medical services provider or third-party data controller was at fault for the data breach and that the breach caused harm. This can be challenging, as it often requires expert legal and technical knowledge to establish liability and quantify the damages suffered. We could advise you if you have a valid claim.
How Long Do I Have To Claim If My Medical Records Have Been Stolen?
If you have suffered harm due to the theft of your medical records, it is important to be aware of the time limit for making a compensation claim. In England and Wales, the Limitation Act 1980 states that you generally have six years from the date of the incident to make a claim. However, this time limit may be extended in certain circumstances, such as if you were not aware of the theft until a later date or if you were under 18 years old at the time of the incident. It could also be shorter in some cases.
Call us to find out how long you could have to make your claim.
Medical Records And Data Protection
Medical records contain sensitive personal information, and it is essential to protect this data from being stolen or accessed by unauthorised parties. The Data Protection Act 2018 sets out the obligations of medical organisations and any third-party data companies they use to protect personal data. Failure to comply with these obligations can lead to a breach, which could happen due to wrongful acts by these parties.
A data breach can occur when personal information is accessed, disclosed, or destroyed without authorisation. This can happen due to various reasons, such as a cyber-attack, theft of physical records, or the wrongful disclosure of information. In the case of medical records, a data breach could lead to the theft of sensitive information, such as a patient’s medical history, diagnosis, or treatment.
Medical organisations and third-party data companies must ensure that they have adequate security measures in place to prevent data breaches. This includes technical measures such as firewalls and encryption, as well as policies and procedures to ensure staff members handle personal data securely. Failure to do so can result in a data breach, which can have serious consequences for those affected.
When Have Medical Records Been Stolen?
The Doorstep Dispensaree data breach was a serious incident that occurred in 2018, where a UK pharmacy exposed the personal and medical data of over 500,000 patients. The exposed data included names, addresses, dates of birth, NHS numbers, medical details, and medication histories.
The breach was discovered by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) during an investigation into the pharmacy’s data protection practices. The ICO found that the pharmacy had failed to protect the personal data of its patients and was not complying with data protection laws.
It was revealed that the pharmacy had stored the sensitive data in unlocked containers in a courtyard, and on shelves and in unlocked cabinets in a reception area, leaving them open to theft. There was no access control, and the pharmacy had failed to implement basic security measures, such as encryption or access controls, to protect the data from unauthorised access.
The ICO fined them £275,000 for the pharmacy data breach The breach was a severe violation of patients’ privacy and confidentiality and could have caused significant harm if the data had fallen into the wrong hands.
The Doorstep Dispensaree data breach serves as a stark reminder of the importance of data protection and the devastating consequences that can occur when personal data is not adequately secured.
How Much Compensation Could I Claim For A Data Theft?
If you have suffered from stress or other psychological issues due to your medical records being stolen, you may be entitled to compensation under non-material damage. To support your data breach claims for stress, it’s important to provide any medical evidence such as hospital records. Our panel of data breach solicitors can also arrange a private medical assessment to obtain medical evidence if necessary, making sure it’s local to avoid unnecessary travel.
Aside from proving psychological harm, it’s also important to prove any related material damage, such as time off work resulting in a loss of earnings. Retaining payslips can serve as proof of this loss.
If you’re considering claiming data breach compensation after your medical records have been stolen, our advisors can conduct a free eligibility check for you.
Non-Material Damages Examples
To estimate how much compensation you could be entitled to, solicitors could use the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG) document. This document is based on compensation awarded in previous court settlements, providing compensation ranges that can be used to determine what you could potentially be owed. We’ve taken the compensation ranges from the 16th edition of this publication, from 2022, to help give you an idea of how such cases could be valued. However, these are only very rough guidelines. The amount you could receive would be calculated based on the specifics of your case.
- Severe PTSD – £59,860 to £100,670
- Moderately Severe PTSD – £23,150 to £59,860
- Moderate PTSD – £8,180 to £23,150
- Less Severe PTSD – £3,950 to £8,180
No Win No Fee Claims If Your Medical Records Have Been Stolen
A lawyer from our panel can provide legal representation without any upfront payment, reducing the financial risk of pursuing a compensation claim. This type of arrangement, that can be made under a Conditional Fee Agreement, could be an option if your medical records have been stolen, and you have a valid claim for comepnsation.
With a No Win No Fee agreement, you can agree on the costs before the legal proceedings begin, so you will know what to expect to pay if the claim is successful. If the claim is unsuccessful, you won’t have to pay the solicitor’s fee.
Our panel of solicitors can offer their services on a No Win No Fee basis for those who have a valid medical records data breach claim. If you’re unsure whether you have a legitimate claim, our advisors can provide a free consultation to assess your case’s strength and potential compensation value.
To get started, you can:
- Fill out a contact form to request a callback.
- Call and advisor at 0800 408 7827,
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Further Reading If Your Medical Records Have Been Stolen
Below, you can find further insight into data breaches and who could claim compensation, as well as some external guides.
Cyber Security Survey – This 2022 survey provides insight into cyber security incidents.
Data Security Advice – Medical and health service guidance on data security can be found here.
ICO Enforcement – You can read the enforcement notice for Doorstep Dispensaree here.
Optician Data Breach Claims – Tips on claiming for an optician data breach.
Private Hospital Data Breach Claims – You can learn more about claiming for a private hospital data breach here.
Data Breach Compensation Calculator – Find out more about how to work out what damages you could claim for.