Can I Claim Compensation If My Data Is Breached?

“Can I claim compensation if my data is breached?” is a question we’re often asked. The answer is not a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’. There can be a few factors that determine whether or not you could be eligible to claim. 

This article addresses those factors so that you can have a better understanding of what constitutes a data breach. We will also attempt to clarify whether or not you can claim.

Can I claim compensation if my data is breached

Can I claim compensation if my data is breached? A guide

However, if you have any questions regarding what to do if your data is breached or about your eligibility to claim, speak to one of our advisors. We understand that data breach claims can seem daunting, but we are here to help in any way we can.

Once we know more about your circumstances, we will be able to offer you more specific guidance. If we think you may have a legitimate claim, we could connect you with an expert solicitor from our panel. They operate on a No Win No Fee basis and could help you get started on a claim for harm caused by a breach of data protection.

Read on for more information.

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Jump To A Heading

  1. Can I Claim Compensation If My Data Is Breached?
  2. What Should Companies And Public Bodies Do If They Have A Data Breach?
  3. What Can I Do If My Data Has Been Breached?
  4. How Long Do I Have To Start A Data Breach Claim?
  5. How Much Could You Claim In Compensation If Your Data Is Breached?
  6. Learn If You Can Claim Compensation If Your Data Is Breached

Can I Claim Compensation If My Data Is Breached?

Various bodies and organisations will require your personal information to be stored for various reasons. For example, your local council may have access to data such as your phone number, email address, or even your debit or credit card information.

Personal data is protected by certain pieces of legislation. Information is classed as “personal data” if it can be used (either alone or when combined with other data) to identify a natural person.

A data breach is defined as a security incident where the confidentiality, integrity or availability  However, simply having your data exposed in a breach is not enough to make a claim. 

In order for you to receive data breach compensation, the organisation in question needs to have acted in a wrongful manner. For example, they may have been fully aware that their cybersecurity was compromised but made no effort to rectify this.

Alternatively, it could be that correspondence (such as a letter) that was intended for you was sent to the wrong person at the wrong address, and they can now access the data contained within. If they were previously made aware of a change of address, for example, but failed to update their systems, this would be positive wrongful conduct. 

Secondly, you also need to have suffered in some way in order to claim compensation. This means that you must have either experienced a financial loss that can be attributed to the breach, suffered some kind of psychological effects due to the breach of your information or experienced a combination of both in order for you to claim.

You can now claim for psychological harm only, even if you have not lost any money due to the incident. This is due to a decision made by the court in the case of Google vs Vidal-Hall 2015

What Personal Data Could Be Held About Me?

Below, we’ve included a list of some examples of personal data that could be held on you:

For more information on how a data breach exposing your personal data could occur, speak with our team. We can also answer the question “Can I claim compensation if my data is breached?”.

What Should Companies And Public Bodies Do If They Have A Data Breach?

If your data is breached, and the breach threatens your rights and freedoms, those responsible have an obligation to reach out to you and tell you as soon as possible. This is stated in the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA).  They should also inform the ICO within 72 hours. 

The DPA is a piece of legislation relating to data protection in the UK. The General Data Protection Regulations are a piece of EU legislation protecting personal data. Now that the UK has left the EU, an updated version of the DPA and the United Kingdom General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR) are the pieces of legislation that dictate data protection in the UK. 

They should supply you with the contact details of the person responsible for their data security. Additionally, they should tell you specifically what information had been breached and any possible outcomes that could occur as a result.

It’s possible that they could offer you compensation at this stage, but this is not guaranteed. Even if they do, it could be lower than the amount you could be owed in the long run. We advise seeking legal help before accepting an offer as if you accept an initial offer of compensation you cannot then go on to make a claim.

Our team are happy to take your call and answer the question “Can I claim compensation if my data is breached?”. Get in touch today.

What Can I Do If My Data Has Been Breached?

As we have already mentioned, an organisation is obliged to tell you about a breach that threatens your rights and freedoms without undue delay. Should the organisation responsible not notify you of a data breach, but you’re worried that one has taken place, you should contact them and raise concerns about how they have used your data.

Making a complaint to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) can also be helpful. This is an independent UK body that is responsible for financially punishing those responsible for a data breach. However, they cannot award you compensation. 

Furthermore, you should report the breach to the ICO within three months of your last meaningful communication with the ICO. If you wait any longer than this, then they might decline to investigate.

Reaching out for legal advice could also help you understand what your next step could be. Speak with advisors today for an answer to the question “Can I claim compensation if my data is breached?”.

How Long Do I Have To Start A Data Breach Claim?

Data breach claims involving a privately-owned company generally have a time limit on them of 6 years. However, if the breach involves a public organisation, then this time limit is reduced to 1 year.

There can be instances where these time limits work differently. Contact us if you’re unsure if you’ve missed the window within which you can start your claim.

How Much Could You Claim In Compensation If Your Data Is Breached?

You can claim compensation if your data is breached, but only if you have suffered as a result. As mentioned earlier, you can claim for psychological damage sustained as the result of a data breach; this is called non-material damages.

In accordance with a recommendation made by the judge presiding over the case of Gulati & others vs MGN Ltd. 2015, the amount is calculated in the same way as in personal injury law. Legal professionals will consult a publication called the Judicial College Guidelines to assist them in arriving at a suitable figure.

We have included some example entries from the JCG in the table below so that you can see how it is laid out. The range of figures is based on amounts awarded in previous cases. The severity of the injury is just one factor that can affect the value of this head of the claim.

Awarded ForDescriptionAmount
Psychiatric damage(a) Severe - many areas of the victim’s life will have been affected, and the prognosis will be very poor£51,460 to £108.620
Post-traumatic stress disorder(a) Severe - effects will be permanent and could completely remove the victim’s ability to work£56,180 to £94,470
Psychiatric damage(b) Moderately severe - issues will have been significant, but there’ll be a greater cause for optimism£17,900 to £51,460
Post-traumatic stress disorder(b) Moderately severe - the effects are still likely to have a significant effect on the victim for a good while, but there is some optimism£21,730 to £56,180
Psychiatric damage(c) Moderate - prognosis will be better than in more severe cases£5,500 to £17,900
Post-traumatic stress disorder(c) Moderate - the victim will have largely recovered£7,680 to £21,730
Psychiatric damage(d) Less severe - the extent to which sleep and other daily activities will have been affected will be considered£1,440 to £5,500
Post-traumatic stress disorder(d) Less severe - virtually a full recovery within 2 years.£3,710 to £7,680

Material damage relates to how much money you have lost as a result of the data breach. This can include money that you lose out on. This could include money that is taken out of your account, but also any impact had on your credit score as a result. 

These costs could be paid back to you if you can prove what your income could have been over this period. You may also be invited to an independent psychological assessment to evaluate the extent of your mental injuries.

Talk to us for more information regarding what could be included in a material damages payment. We could also answer the question “Can I claim compensation if my data is breached?” as it relates to your particular circumstances. 

Learn If You Can Claim Compensation If Your Data Is Breached

If you make a claim following a data breach, you may be concerned about the cost of enlisting professional legal help. However, all of the lawyers on our panel work under a No Win No Fee agreement. 

Working with a solicitor in this way ensure that you don’t need to pay them anything if your claim is not successful. If you are awarded compensation when working under an arrangement such as this, then you only pay them if your claim succeeds.

Their fee is taken from your settlement in the form of a small percentage. What’s more, this is legally capped, ensuring that you always get the majority of the compensation you’re awarded. 

Reach out today to see if you could make a claim on a No Win No Fee basis.

  • Talk to us over the phone, call us on 0800 408 7825
  • You can also contact us through our website
  • Alternatively, use the pop-up chat window in the corner  

Tools For Victims Of Data Breaches

Follow the links below for more information on this topic.

  1. Read about claims for data breaches caused by human error.
  2. Data breach claims caused by a lost device.
  3. Head here to read about more examples of data breaches.
  4. Read more about the ICO.
  5. An overview of clinical depression – an NHS guide.
  6. You can complain to the government about a data breach.

We appreciate you taking the time to read this article on the question of “can I claim compensation if my data is breached?”

Guide by AI

Publisher ET