Data Breach Definition And Compensation Claims Advice

This guide will provide you with a data breach definition and confirm under what instances you may be able to claim compensation due to the exposing of your personal data. We will also show how you make data breach claims and illustrate the amount of compensation you could receive. 

data breach definition

A guide that includes the definition of a data breach

Additionally, you can also contact our team if you have questions like “what is an example of a data breach?” and “what defines a data breach?” Our advisors can be contacted completely for free at a convenient time for you. They can tell you if you’re able to claim and provide you with a compensation estimate. 

Furthermore, they can also connect you to our panel of No Win No Fee personal injury solicitors if you have solid grounds for a claim. They can help you on a No Win No Fee basis, and their work could result in you receiving UK GDPR data breach compensation. 

Use the below details to contact us. 

Please read on to know the definition of a data breach and how you could receive compensation. 

Select A Section

  1. A Data Breach Definition
  2. Data Breach Definition: Examples
  3. How Should Personal Data Be Protected?
  4. What Do You Need To Show To Claim For A Data Breach?
  5. The Definition Of Data Breach Compensation
  6. How No Win No Fee Solicitors Could Help You

A Data Breach Definition

Before we provide you with a data breach definition, it’s important to understand certain third parties’ roles in processing and protecting your personal data. There are two types of third parties that deal with your personal data. 

  • Data Controller – This is the legal or natural person, agency, public authority or other body which determines the purpose and means of how your personal data is processed. This includes workplaces, schools and public bodies.  
  • Data Processor – This is the third party that sometimes processes the personal data on the controller’s behalf. 

A data breach is when either a data controller or processor experiences a security breach, causing your personal data to be lost, altered, accidentally or unlawfully destroyed, accessed or disclosed without sufficient authorisation. Human error or a deliberate act could cause this. 

Would you like to be provided with a more detailed data breach definition? If so, you can contact our team of advisors for free. Additionally, they can also inform you if you can claim and provide a compensation estimate for what you could receive. Contact them using the above details. 

Data Breach Definition: Examples

To receive compensation for a data breach, one important factor is proving that the data controller or processor’s positive wrongful conduct caused the breach. The Data Protection Act 2018 and the UK GDPR clearly define how third parties need to handle your personal data. If the breach was caused by them failing to adhere to these responsibilities, you might be able to claim due to positive wrongful conduct. 

Personal data includes your name, date of birth, address, email address, phone number, bank account details, and relevant passwords. It is any information that can be used to identify you, whether directly or indirectly.

However, it’s important to note that simply experiencing a data breach doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be able to claim. The third-party in question must fail in their legal obligations, causing the data breach. What’s more, you’d need to suffer mental harm or financial loss as a result.

An example of this would be if, for instance, your personal data was sent to the wrong email address despite your correct email address being on file. Other examples of potential data breaches caused by positive wrongful conduct include the data controller:

  • Sending your personal data to the wrong address, despite them having your correct one.
  • Failing to use BCC in an email when sending one to multiple people who don’t have the authorisation to access each other’s email addresses.
  • Disclosing your personal data over the phone without the correct authority. 

Examples Of High Profile Data Breaches

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) are an independent authority that upholds public information rights in the UK. You can complain to them for a breach of personal data if you’ve complained to the third-party responsible for the data breach and received an unsatisfactory response. You would need to do this within three months of the last piece of meaningful correspondence sent by the data controller or processor. 

An example of a high profile data breach is when the ICO fined British Airways (BA). BA was found to have broken data protection law leading to a cyber-attack in 2018. This cyber-attack led to the exposure of personal data for over 400,000 customers. 

BA was found guilty of breaking data protection law because the ICO deemed that they had clear weaknesses in security that could have been fixed through up-to-date security protocols available at the time. 

How Should Personal Data Be Protected?

Now that we’ve provided a data breach definition and provided examples of instances where you may be able to claim, this section will clarify what data controllers or processors can do to prevent a data breach. This includes: 

  • Updating cybersecurity to prevent potential hacks. This could ensure the protection of sensitive information. 
  • Ensuring their records are up-to-date. For example, you could be negatively impacted if they send personal data to your old address after providing your current address.
  • Training staff to ensure they only provide personal data after the relevant security checks have been completed. 

What Do You Need To Show To Claim For A Data Breach?

Another important aspect of receiving compensation for data breach claims involves proving that you’ve suffered material damage (financial loss) or non-material damage (psychological issues) as a consequence. This section will clarify the types of evidence you need. 

  • Firstly, you need to prove that a data breach has occurred. You could use correspondence from the third party confirming the breach or evidence that a breach has occurred. If your freedoms and rights have been affected, the third party would need to alert you as soon as possible if they are aware that a data breach has occurred. 
  • Confirmation of how the breach happened. This could be proving that the data controller provided unauthorised access to your personal data or that your information was lost or stolen due to the controller incorrectly disposing of it, for example.
  • Financial information, such as receipts or bank statements, could prove financial loss. This could be because you’ve become the victim of identity theft. You may be able to claim for such things as loss of earnings
  • To prove psychological damage, you need evidence like medical assessments, lists of treatments and correspondence with health professionals. 

To learn more about claiming or if you want a more detailed data breach definition, please contact our team, who offer free legal advice. They’re available 24/7 and can tell you quickly and easily if you can claim. Contact them using the above details. 

Advice On The Definition Of Data Breach Compensation

As previously mentioned, you can claim material or non-material damage for data breach claims. Due to the ruling of Vidal-Hall and others v Google Inc [2015], you no longer need to have experienced financial losses to claim for psychological damage caused by a data breach. This means you could claim for both effects or either.

If you’ve suffered due to a data breach, the amount of compensation you could receive depends on the losses and potential injuries you can prove. However, the Judicial College can provide you with a better idea of the compensation you could receive for psychological damage. They analyse previous payouts, comparing them to the amount received for the injury. 

Therefore, by doing this, they’ve created the below compensation brackets. Please remember that these figures only indicate what you could receive. Every case is unique and dependent on many factors. This means that, should your claim be successful, your compensation may vary from what is seen below. 

Type of InjurySeverityAmount of CompensationDescription
Psychiatric Damage - GenerallySevere£51,460 to £108,620This injury leads to severe issues with the injured person's ability to deal with aspects of life including education, life and work. It also affects their relationships with friends and family. The amount received will depend on factors including prognosis, whether the treatment has been successful and future vulnerability.
Less Severe£1,440 to £5,500The compensation will be determined by the degree to which the injury has affected the person's ability to sleep and their ability to perform daily activities.
Moderately Severe£17,900 to £51,460The prognosis will be better than in more severe cases. Examples of injuries in this bracket could include a psychiatric injury following a negligent stillbirth.
Moderate£5,500 to £17,900The prognosis will be better due to a marked improvement by trial.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)Less Severe£3,710 to £7,680A virtually full recovery will be made within a year or two. Any symptoms that last beyond two years will only be minor.
Moderate£7,680 to £21,730No grossly disabling continuous effects will be created by injuries in this bracket. As such, the injured person will have largely recovered.
Moderately Severe£21,730 to £56,180This will be less severe than more serious cases because professional help will lead to some degree of recovery. However, significant disability will still be caused for the foreseeable future.
Severe£56,180 to £94,470Permanent effects of the PTSD will lead to the injured person being unable to work or, at the very least, not being able to function at the pre-trauma level.

For a free estimate of what you could claim, get in touch with our advisors.

How No Win No Fee Solicitors Could Help You

Now you’re more aware of the data breach definition and have been provided with compensation examples; you may also want more information about using the services of a No Win No Fee solicitor. Our panel of solicitors provide their services through this method. Advantages of it include:

  • Only paying the fee of your solicitor at the end of your claim. 
  • No hidden fees or costs. 
  • Not paying your solicitor’s fee if your claim isn’t successful. 

Therefore, you may find it more financially beneficial to claim using this method. Furthermore, our panel of solicitors are specialists in claiming compensation for a data breach. They won’t waste your time; only taking on your case if they feel you have a reasonably good chance of success.

If you want to know more about the types of confidential information that could be breached or to have a more detailed data breach definition, please contact our team. They’re available whenever you need them and can tell you in one phone call if you can claim. They can also put you through to our panel of solicitors who could help you receive compensation. 

Contact us using the details below. 

Different Data Breach Definitions And Resources

More useful information can be found in the below links. 

You can go onto the ICO website to learn more about making a data breach complaint

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport provides UK-based statistics about cybersecurity breaches. Click on their website to learn more. 

The NHS website can provide you with medical guidance if you have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Would you like more information about claiming for a data breach caused by a stolen or lost device? If so, read this page on our website. 

More data breach compensation claim examples can be found here. 

Do you want to know if you can claim for an HMRC data breach? If so, read this guide. 

Would you like to know more about the data breach definition we provide and the other services we can offer? If so, please contact our team for free advice. You can contact them using the above details. 

Article by AU

Publisher UI