My Personal Data Has Been Breached – What Can I Do?

In today’s digital age, personal data has become a valuable commodity. From credit card details to bank account numbers and medical data, we entrust businesses and organisations with our personal information in exchange for services or products. However, what happens when our personal data falls into the wrong hands? A data breach is a serious violation of our privacy, and the consequences can be far-reaching and long-lasting. If you find yourself in this unfortunate situation, you may be wondering what steps you can take to minimise the damage and seek compensation for any harm suffered. This guide will provide you with a comprehensive overview of what to do if your personal data has been breached.

personal data has been breachedWe will cover the reporting of a data breach, statistics on data breaches, and who could claim compensation for harm suffered after a data breach. We will also introduce the right to claim for exposure of personal data due to wrongdoing by a data controller under the Data Protection Act 2018. This act provides individuals with significant rights, including the right to seek compensation for any loss or damage caused by a data breach resulting from wrongful action by an organisation.

If you are eligible to make a claim, we will guide you through the process of making a No Win No Fee data breach claim. We understand that this can be a complex and overwhelming process, which is why we have created this guide to provide you with the necessary information and resources to take action and protect your rights.

Should you have questions, or wish to check your eligibility to claim, you can get in touch with an advisor:

Has My Personal Data Been Breached?

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) defines a personal data breach as  security breach of security causing accidental or unlawful alteration, loss or destruction, or unauthorised disclosure of, or access to a person’s data. This can happen in a variety of ways, such as through hacking, theft, or human error.

To claim data breach compensation, you must show that the wrongful action of a data controller caused the breach and that the breach resulted in harm to you. Harm can be either emotional or financial, and it must be more than just a minor inconvenience. For example, if your bank suffers a data breach and your account is emptied as a result, you may be able to claim compensation for the financial harm caused. Similarly, if your medical records are leaked, and this causes you emotional distress, you may be able to claim compensation for the emotional harm caused.

Another example of how a personal data breach could lead to a claim is if an online retailer suffers a data breach, and your credit card information is stolen as a result. If the retailer failed to adequately protect your personal data and you suffer financial harm as a result, you may be able to claim compensation for the breach.

In short, to make a claim for data breach compensation, you must show that the breach was caused by the wrongful actions of a data controller and that it resulted in harm to you.

Data Breach Statistics

According to the government’s 2022 survey, approximately 39% of businesses and 30% of charities have reported experiencing a cyber security breach or attack within the past year.

Interestingly, larger businesses tend to identify breaches or attacks more frequently than smaller ones, a trend that has persisted across each year of the survey. Additionally, high-income charities with £500,000 or more were more likely to report any breaches or attacks, with 62% of them reporting such incidents. Even more significantly, 76% of charities with very high incomes of £5 million or more reported experiencing breaches or attacks.

How Long Do I Have To Act If My Personal Data Has Been Breached?

In the UK, the time limit for making a claim under the Limitation Act 1980 is six years from the date of the breach in typical cases, although there are some cases where this period might be a lot shorter. It is important to note that the sooner you act, the better your chances of success may be. Delaying your claim could mean that crucial evidence is lost, or that witnesses’ recollections of events become less reliable.

In any case, it is always best to seek legal advice as soon as possible following a data breach. An experienced solicitor will be able to assess your case and advise you on the best course of action. They will also be able to provide guidance on the time limits for making a claim and ensure that you do not miss any crucial deadlines.

What Should I Do If My Personal Data Has Been Breached?

In the event of a personal data breach, there are several steps you can take to minimise the impact and protect yourself. The first step is to determine what type of data was compromised and whether there is any risk of identity theft or other malicious activities. You should also contact the organisation or company that was responsible for the breach to report the incident and get more information on how they are addressing the issue.

If your personal data has been breached, you should also take steps to protect your personal information. This may include changing passwords for any affected accounts, monitoring your credit report and bank statements for suspicious activity, and putting a fraud alert on your credit report.

It’s also important to be vigilant for potential phishing scams or other fraudulent activities that may target you as a result of the data breach. If you receive any suspicious emails or phone calls, do not provide any personal information and report them to the appropriate authorities.

Overall, it’s important to take a proactive approach to data security and be prepared to respond quickly in the event of a data breach. Should you have suffered harm from a date breach, and you believe wrongdoing on the part of an organisation caused it, please call our team. You could be eligible to claim compensation.

What Could I Claim For?

If you have been the victim of a data breach, you may be wondering how much compensation you could receive. There are two types of damage that you can claim for. These are material and non-material.

Material damage refers to any financial losses you have suffered as a result of the breach. For example, you may have had to take time off work due to the emotional distress caused by the breach, resulting in a loss of earnings. You may be able to claim compensation for these financial losses.

How Much Data Breach Compensation Could I Receive?

Non-material damage covers the psychological injuries you may have suffered, such as post-traumatic stress disorder or anxiety.

It is important to note that the amount of compensation you could receive will depend on the specific circumstances of your case. The Judicial College Guidelines provide illustrative figures, which we have listed below. However, these are only rough guides, based on past cases in England and Wales.

  • Severe general psychological injury – £54,830 to £115,730  
  • Moderately severe general psychological injury – £19,070 to £54,830
  • Moderate general psychological injury- £5,860 to £19,070
  • Less severe general psychological injury- £1,540 to £5,860

To learn how much you could claim if your personal data has been breached, contact an advisor. They will be happy to assist you.

Start A No Win No Fee Claim Today

Our panel of data breach solicitors offer their services a No Win No Fee agreement, which means that there is no upfront or ongoing payment required for their services.

In the event that your claim is unsuccessful, you will not have to pay anything to the solicitor. You will only pay a fee for their services if your claim is successful, and even then, the fee is capped at 25% of your compensation under the Conditional Fee Agreements Order 2013.

If you think you may be eligible for compensation for after your personal data has been breached, you can speak to one of our advisors to find out more about the No Win No Fee agreement. There is no obligation to proceed with our panel’s services, but we are here to help and provide guidance.

To learn more about our services, you can reach us:

Further Guidance On What To Do If Your Personal Data Has Been Breached

You can find further insight into claims for data breaches below.

10 Steps To Cyber Security – Learn about how to protect data online.

Data Incident Dashboard – View the ICO interactive dashboard for data security incidents here.

Report A Data Breach – Find out where to start here. 

Can I Claim After A Bank Data Breach? – Learn how a bank data breach could impact people, and who could claim compensation.

Wage Data Breach – Wage data can be dangerous in the wrong hands. Learn whether you could be eligible for compensation.

Data Breach FAQ – You’ll find answers to frequently asked questions about personal data breaches here.