By Stephen Anderson. Last Updated 6th October 2023. You may have heard about data breaches in the news and you may even have been informed that your personal data has been involved in a breach. But did you know you can claim compensation for a data breach that causes you damage?
Well, that’s the case and in this article, we’ll look at what suffering might be caused by a data leak. Also, we’ll explain why you might be able to claim compensation. We’ll look at the laws that have been introduced to protect you. Finally, we’ll list some of the organisations (or data controllers) that hold information about you.
If you do wish to start a data breach claim, our team can help. They will review any claim without obligation and give you free legal advice too. Where your claim appears to have a reasonable chance of success, you could be referred to a data breach solicitor from our panel. Should they accept you as a client, they’ll represent you on a No Win No Fee basis. Importantly, that will mean no solicitor’s fees need to be paid unless you receive compensation.
We’re available on 0800 408 7825 if you’d like to begin a data protection breach claim right away. Alternatively, please read on to learn more about the claims process.
Select A Section
- What Is A Data Breach And Can I Claim CompensationAnd Can I Claim Compensation?
- What Is The Data Protection Act And UK GDPR?
- Data Breach Examples – Cases We’ve Helped With
- How Long Do I Have To Claim Data Breach Compensation?
- How Do I Prove A Data Breach Compensation Claim?
- Data Breach Compensation Payouts – Check What You Could Receive
- Claim With A No Win No Fee Data Breach Solicitor
- Related Data Breach Claims Guides
According to the UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR), personal data protection breaches are security incidents, that results in personal data being unlawfully or accidentally destroyed, changed, lost, disclosed or accessed in an unauthorised manner.
Within the UK GDPR, there are some key terms that we should define here:
- Data controllers – an organisation that controls why and how personal data is used.
- Data processors – an organisation or individual who act on behalf of the data controller.
- The data subject – this is an identifiable or identified individual whose personal data has been processed.
Although it may not seem quite clear just yet how a data breach could affect you, if you think about all the personal information that may be stored about you, how you would feel if this was leaked. You could suffer financially, psychologically or both as a result of the breach.
Data protection breaches could happen in a number of different ways. Some can be deliberate while others are human error and accidental. Whether the data breach was caused by human error or criminal activity, you could have grounds to claim compensation. Please call today if you’d like us to check whether you have the grounds to proceed.
The Criteria For Making A Data Breach Compensation Claim
To be eligible to make a data breach compensation claim, you will need to establish with evidence that:
- A personal data breach occurred as a result of wrongful conduct.
- This breach affected your personal data.
- As a result, you suffered harm.
This harm can include financial loss, emotional damage, or both. Wrongful conduct occurs when an organisation fails to adequately comply with data protection legislation.
Please read on or contact our advisors to learn more about the legislations that cover data breaches and how much you may be able to receive in data breach compensation.
Let’s now look at some of the legislation that has been introduced to protect personal data.
What Is The Data Protection Act 2018?
When the UK was a part of the European Union we adopted their EU version of the GDPR and applied it into the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA). When the United Kingdom left the EU the DPA was altered and we now refer to the UK GDPR.
The DPA provides a framework for the UK’s data protection laws alongside the UK GDPR. It replaced the Data Protection Act 1998 and was updated on 1st January 2021 because of the European Union (Withdrawal Act 2018). The Information Commissioners’ Office (ICO) is responsible for enforcing data protection laws. Data controllers who fail to adhere to applicable legislation and regulations can be heavily fined by the ICO.
What Is The UK GDPR?
The UK GDPR sits alongside the DPA to help protect personal information. That is any information that could be used to identify an individual directly or indirectly. As a result of the UK GDPR, data controllers and processors require a lawful basis to handle personal information. They must also abide by other data protection principles as well.
Where data protection breaches occur, the ICO can investigate organisations and force them to change the way they work. They could also hand out massive financial penalties too. However, the ICO cannot help you claim for any psychological injuries or monetary losses. For that reason, you will need to take your own legal action,
Organisations can store a lot of personal data on you, such as your name, email address or home address. Additionally, they may hold sensitive information such as health data or information regarding your ethnicity or religious beliefs. This type of information is classed as special category data under the UK GDPR.
You might want to sue for emotional distress after a breach of UK GDPR affected your personal data and caused you harm. In this section, we look at how your personal data might be breached as a result of positive wrongful conduct on behalf of a data controller or processor.
To give you an idea, we’ve listed some data protection breach examples below:
- You may have updated your home address with a company, but they still send a letter containing your personal data to the wrong postal address.
- A company may fail to use BCC when sending a mass email, meaning that your confidential information is sent to others who shouldn’t have it.
- If a company fails to update their cybersecurity systems, your personal data might be hacked by cybercriminals via a phishing scam.
Continue reading to find out the data breach compensation amount you could be awarded if your claim is successfully settled. Additionally, we may be able to connect you with data protection breach solicitors from our panel.
We suggest starting your claim as early as possible. That’s because while some data breach claims have a 6-year limitation period, others can have as little as 1-year.
To check how long you have to claim, please use live chat or give our advisors a call.
As mentioned previously, data breach compensation might be possible for suffering caused by psychological injury and/or financial losses because of a breach. You must also be able to show with evidence how those you hold responsible for allowing your personal information to be leaked are liable.
In the next section, we’ll explain what amount of compensation might be awarded for psychological suffering. Before we do, let’s look at the evidence that could support your claim:
- By law, organisations must contact you if they become aware of a data protection breach that puts you at risk. This letter could be used as evidence.
- Financial documents. Bank statements, receipts and benefit statements could all be used to help prove your losses.
- Medical records and reports. Records from your GP could be used.
If your case is taken on, one of the data breach lawyers from our panel will assess your evidence. If the defendant doesn’t admit that the breach happened, you may be advised to ask the ICO to investigate. For more information on your options, please call.
In the case of Vidal-Hall and others v Google Inc  at the Court of Appeal, it was ruled that compensation must be considered for any psychological harm caused by data breaches. Importantly, the court said that mental harm can be claimed for regardless of whether any money has been lost. This is a move away from previous rules.
In a separate case (Gulati & Others v MGN Limited ), the court ruled that settlement amounts for these injuries should be based on the amount paid in personal injury law. Therefore, our compensation table, below, uses data from the Judicial College to show how much could be paid.
|Severe Psychological Damage||Marked problems with future vulnerability and working/daily life. There will be a very poor prognosis.||£54,830 to £115,730|
|Moderately Severe |
|The person will suffer with significant problems but there will be a more optimistic prognosis.||£19,070 to £54,830|
|Moderate Psychological Damage||The claimant will have suffered with various issue but a good amount of recovery will have been made.||£5,860 to £19,070|
|Less Severe Psychological Damage||Various factors will affect how much compensation is awarded.||£1,540 to £5,860|
|Severe Anxiety Disorder||The claimant will suffer with permanent problems. They won't be able to function at pre-trauma levels with all areas of life being negatively affected.||£59,860 to £100,670|
|Moderately Severe Anxiety Disorder||With professional help, there is room for some recover and the person's prognosis will be better.||£23,150 to £59,860|
|Moderate Anxiety Disorder||A large recovery has taken place with only slight symptoms remaining.||£8,180 to £23,150|
|Less Severe Anxiety Disorder||A (almost) full recovery will have happened within 2 years.||£3,950 to £8,180|
What Is Material Damage In The Context Of Data Breach Compensation?
Additionally, you may also be awarded data breach compensation for any material damage you suffered. This refers to any of the financial losses you’ve incurred due to your personal data being compromised.
For example, fraudulent purchases could be made in your name as a result of your credit card details being involved in a data breach.
It’s crucial that you can provide evidence to show you have experienced financial harm as a result of a personal data breach, such as your bank or credit card statements.
If you have any additional questions about compensation that might be awarded in personal data breach claims, you can contact our advisors today.
You may find that you want to hire a data breach solicitor to support your case. A No Win No Fee Agreement can help fund the services of a solicitor. This means if your case is lost you pay no fees to your solicitor and if it is won you pay a success fee to your solicitor out of your compensation.
If you are now ready to begin a data protection breach claim, you can contact us by:
- Calling our specialists on 0800 408 7825.
- Using our live chat service.
- Completing our online form so that we can get back to you.
In our final section, we’ve included links to some further guides and external resources that may prove useful.
- ICO Enforcement Action – a database of recent fines and enforcement notices issued by the ICO.
- Anxiety – NHS information on how anxiety is diagnosed and treated.
- Subject Access Requests – Information on how to obtain copies of data held by companies about you.
- Human Error Data Breach Claims – Advice on claiming for suffering caused by accidental data breaches.
- Wrong Email Address Claims – Information on how using the wrong email address could cause a data protection breach.
- Claiming For Lost Wages – This guide explains the process of recouping any lost income during a claim.
We also have some other guides you may find useful:
- If you’ve been impacted by the Capita data breach, a compensation claim could be a suitable course of action. To learn more about what happened, who was affected and whether you can make a data breach claim, head here.
- UK GDPR data breach claims
- How to find specialist data breach solicitors
- Can I sue my employer for emotional distress after a data breach?
- Finding a data protection solicitor
- Can you claim compensation for an email data breach?
- Human error data breaches
- Stolen or lost device data breach claims
- Data breaches caused by a failure to use BCC
- Claims for a breach of UK GDPR
- Data breach compensation examples
- Work with a data protection solicitor on a No Win No Fee basis
- Credit card data breach claims
- Dentist data breach claims
- HMRC data breach claims
- Make a data breach claim against a solicitor
- Head here to learn all about social services data breach claims. Discover potential compensation payouts, how your data could be breached and how to make a No Win No Fee claim.
- Police data breach claims – head here to learn all about claiming compensation following a breach of data protection laws by the police. You can learn all about No Win No Fee agreements and potential compensation payouts.
- Housing Association data breach claims
- Private healthcare data breach claims
- NHS data breach claims
- How to claim compensation for a data breach by a pharmacy?
- Optician data breach claims
- How to deal with a data protection breach
- Has my data been breached?
- Data protection breach examples in the UK
- How to find a data protection solicitor
- Can I claim compensation if my data is breached?
- Can I sue social services for distress after a data breach?
- Data breach compensation claims – the essential guide
- Claim for a personal data breach under the UK GDPR
- My data has been breached, what can I do?
- Data breach definition and claims advice
- How to claim compensation for a data breach
- How to report a UK GDPR data breach and make a claim
- How to deal with a data protection breach
- Claim for a data protection breach
- Am I eligible to make a data breach claim?
- How long do you have to report a data breach?
- How to sue the council for emotional distress after a data breach
- Make a claim for a DPA breach
- What happens if an employee breaches the UK GDPR?
- How To Claim For A Joint Bank Account Data Breach
- How To Make A Divorce Lawyer Data Breach Claim
- How To Make A Probation Officer Data Breach Claim
- How To Claim If Your Data Was Breached Via Skype
- How To Claim For An Exam Results Data Breach
- Can My Employer Share My Personal Info Without My Consent?
- My Disciplinary Info Was Sent To The Wrong Address – Can I Claim?
- Data Breach Claims – Frequently Asked Questions
- Accidental Workplace Data Breach Claims
- My Records Were Lost In A Data Breach, What Are My Rights?
- Breach Of Illness Data – Could You Claim Compensation?
- My Disciplinary Or Dismissal Info Was Breached By A Work Colleague – Can I Claim?
- Conveyancing Solicitors Breach Of Data Protection – Could You Claim?
- Customer Service Breach Of UK GDPR – Could You Claim?
- UK GDPR Data Breach Notice Letter Guide – Can I Claim?
- Criminal Solicitors Breach Of Data Protection – Could You Claim?
- My Personal Information Was Shared Without My Consent, Can I Claim?
- Rent Statement Data Breach Claims Explained
- Confidential Info Sent To Wrong Email Address Claims
- Your Banking Details Have Been Shared – Could You Claim?
- Breach of Abuse Data – Could You Claim?
- How To Claim If A Data Breach Made Existing Mental Health Problems Worse
- Universal Credit Breach Of Data Protection – Could You Claim?
- Incorrect Information Data Breach Claims – Can I Claim?
Thank you for reading our article on data protection breach claims.