In this article, we’re going to look at when misdirected fax data breach claims might be possible. While fax machines are not used as commonly as in the past, any personal information they transmit is protected by the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA) and the UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR).
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a piece of EU legislation that was introduced in 2018. In the same year, it was ratified by the DPA into UK law. Now that the UK has left the EU, the DPA has been updated. This and the UK GDPR is the regime we now refer to in relation to data protection in the UK.
These laws are designed to try and protect personal data. Many organisations have put measures in place to protect digital data. However, data that is not stored digitally must also be protected according to UK GDPR. This includes information that is sent through a fax machine.
Our advisors can review your claim for free and provide specialist legal advice about data breach claims. Where your claim is valid, we could pass it to a data breach solicitor on our panel.
If they agree to work on your case, they could offer their services on a No Win No Fee basis. That means you’ll not be expected to pay solicitors’ fees upfront and there won’t be any to pay if your case isn’t successful.
If you would like to discuss your options right away, please call our team of specialist advisors on 0800 408 7825 today, or get in touch via our online form. Alternatively, read more of this guide to learn about how to make data breach claims for misdirected faxes.
Select A Section
- What Is A Misdirected Fax Data Breach?
- What Data Could A Misdirected Fax Data Breach Expose?
- The Central London Community Healthcare Trust Misdirected Fax Breach
- What Are The Two Types Of Damages Awarded?
- Misdirected Fax Data Breach Compensation Calculator
- Should I Get A No Win No Fee Solicitor?
- Contact An Expert
- Where Can I Find Out More About Data Breach Claims?
What Is A Misdirected Fax Data Breach?
As technology advances, there are fewer and fewer organisations relying on fax machines to send information. In recent years, the government have said that they should no longer be used by the NHS. However, while they are still in use, any personal data sent using a fax machine should be protected.
A data breach is a security incident that leads to personal data being lost, destroyed, altered or disclosed to or accessed by someone without authorisation.
Where personal data breaches occur, the Information Commissioner’s Office may investigate and penalise organisations found guilty of breaking data protection laws. However, they are not able to award personal data breach compensation. Later on in this guide, we’ll review a case where the ICO fined and NHS trust £90,000 in relation to a misdirected fax data breach.
As well as fax data breach claims, our panel of solicitors are able to help with wrong postal address claims, wrong email address claims and failure to use the BCC field in email claims. While data breaches can be caused by criminal activity, those relating to misdirected faxes may occur because of human error.
What Data Could A Misdirected Fax Data Breach Expose?
Any type of information that could identify you is protected by the UK GDPR. This is referred to as personal data. This covers information that can be used to identify you when combined with other data, as well as data that can be used in isolation to identify you.
A misdirected fax data breach is where a fax containing personal data is sent to the wrong recipient, resulting in a breach. A claim might be possible for such an incident if the error causes the data subject (the person to whom the data relates) to suffer.
This may happen if the fax contained information that could cause depression or anxiety if it was viewed by someone without authorisation. Similarly, you may be able to claim if criminals used the exposed information from a data breach and caused you to lose money.
What are some examples of personal data?
Personal data could include:
- Names, telephone numbers, address details.
- Banking details.
- ID numbers – patient number, employee number, National Insurance number etc.
- Email addresses.
Other personal data that might not identify you directly but could be used in conjunction with other information could include:
- Your race or ethnicity.
- Religious beliefs.
- Marital status.
- Any disabilities.
- Sexual orientation.
- Your gender.
If you believe information about you has been involved in a misdirected fax data breach, why not call today to find out your options? Our team of advisors will be happy to offer you free legal advice.
The Central London Community Healthcare Trust Misdirected Fax Breach
Earlier, we mentioned a data breach involving an NHS trust involving misdirected faxes. We’ll look at that in more detail here.
The breach led to a fine of £90,000 for the Central London Community Healthcare NHS Trust from the ICO. They referred to it as a ‘serious breach’.
The incident resulted in information about 59 patients being sent to the wrong recipient. This included details about their resuscitation instructions, domestic situation and their diagnosis.
The breach happened after an employee at a palliative care unit arranged for faxes to be sent to a nearby hospice. However, they failed to check that the faxes had arrived and therefore failed to notice that the wrong number had been used.
The NHS Trust has stated that they intend to appeal against the fine.
What Are The Two Types Of Damages Awarded?
If you make a misdirected fax data breach claim, you could receive two different heads of claim as part of your compensation. These are:
- Material damages. Material damages compensate you for any money you’ve lost or expenses you’ve incurred because of the breach.
- Non-material damages. This part of your claim will focus on any mental harm that’s resulted. For example, it may be possible to claim for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Other forms of suffering that could be considered include anxiety, stress and depression.
It is a good idea to begin your claim as swiftly as possible. That’s because there are strict time limits that apply.
You’ll have 6-years to claim against most organisations for a data breach. However, if the claim is against a public body, then you will only have 1 year in which to claim. Therefore, why not connect to live chat to check how long you’ve got left to make your claim?
Misdirected Fax Data Breach Compensation Calculator
Before showing how much compensation might be paid for injuries sustained during a misdirected fax data breach, let’s look at how this has changed over time. In the case of Vidal-Hall and others v Google Inc  the Court held that data subjects can claim compensation for mental harm even when they’ve not lost any money. Previously, the financial loss must also have been proven.
In another case, Gulati v MGN Limited , it was agreed that claims for psychiatric injuries should be valued in the same way as in personal injury claims.
Therefore, our compensation table, below, provides data from the Judicial College Guidelines. These are based on compensation awarded in previous claims. Please be advised that these are guidelines and not guaranteed compensation amounts:
|Mental Harm||Severe (a)||£51,460 to £108,620||The claimant probably won't respond well to treatment. As a result, they'll have significant issues with work, relationships and life in general. This will result in a very poor prognosis.|
|Mental Harm||Moderately Severe (b)||£17,900 to £51,460||Initially, suffering will be at the same level as above. However, in this category, there will be a more optimistic prognosis.|
|Mental Harm||Moderate (c)||£5,500 to £17,900||A good recovery will have already begun but the claimant will have suffered serious problems initially.|
|PTSD||Severe (a)||£56,180 to £94,470||Returning to work and a normal level of functioning is unlikely. In this category, it's possible for the claimant's symptoms to be permanent.|
|Moderately Severe (b)||£21,730 to £56,180||Professional support should allow the claimant to improve from their initially significant symptoms.|
|Moderate (c)||£7,680 to £21,730||The claimant will have already made a good recovery with few ongoing symptoms.|
Should I Go With A No Win No Fee Solicitor?
Do you have grounds to claim for a misdirected fax data breach? If so, are you worried about losing funds because of solicitor’s fees? If that’s the case, don’t worry. Our panel of data breach solicitors can offer their services on a No Win No Fee basis. As a result, you won’t have to pay them if your claim doesn’t work out. Also, you won’t have to pay any solicitor’s fees in advance.
If we refer your case to a solicitor, they’ll check that it’s viable and they’re happy to take it on. If they do, you’ll be offered a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). This is a type of No Win No Fee agreement and will explain what needs to happen before you need to pay for your solicitor’s work.
A success fee will be listed in the CFA. This is the percentage of your compensation that will be deducted if your claim is won. The fee is capped by law to 25% of your settlement amount when using a CFA. You don’t pay this fee for unsuccessful claims. If you’d like to check if you could claim on a No Win No Fee basis, please speak with us today.
Contact An Expert
We hope that this article about misdirected fax data breach claims has helped. If you’d like our help to start a claim, you can:
- Call our team of specialist advisors on 0800 408 7825.
- Use our live chat feature to discuss your options online.
- Complete our online enquiry form so that we can get back to you.
Where Can I Find Out More About Data Breach Claims?
Stolen Device Data Breach Claims – Our guide on claiming if your data was accessed from a stolen device.
Data Protection Solicitors – More information on how solicitors can help you to claim for a personal data breach.
Examples Of Data Breach Claims– This guide offers examples of situations in which you could claim for harm caused by a data breach.
Phishing Email Scams – Government advice on preventing data breaches caused by phishing emails.
Data Protection Guide – A more detailed look at how data protection works according to the ICO.
Signs Of Anxiety – NHS guidance on how anxiety is spotted and treated.
Thanks for reading this guide about claiming following a misdirected fax data breach.