Types Of Data Protection Breaches You Could Claim For

Examples of data protection cases

Examples of data protection breach cases

Can I claim compensation if my data is breached? In some circumstances, you may be able to claim for a data breach. However, not all data protection breach cases result in either harm or potential financial loss, or not all involve personal data and not all could have been avoided. Only when a certain criteria is met is a data breach compensation claim valid. Throughout this guide we will provide you with examples of data protection breach cases so that you can make a decision on whether your data breach would qualify you for compensation.

Alternatively, if you want an instant answer as to whether you have a valid personal data breach claim, we could be able to help you. You can get in touch with our expert advisors. They will also be able to answer any questions not covered in this guide for you. You can call us on 0800 408 7825, or request a callback using our contact form.

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How Do Data Protection Breach Cases Happen?

Can I sue if my data is leaked? In some data protection breach cases, this may be a possibility. Later in this guide, we will look at UK data security and privacy laws. We will also look at the types of data these laws safeguard. However, for now, you just need to understand that if these laws are breached, this could expose your data. If the exposure subsequently results in you suffering psychological injuries or financial loss, a valid reason to claim may exist.

However, you will need to prove that the party you are claiming against failed in its obligation to keep your data safe, in order to make a successful claim.

Data breaches can stem from a number of root causes. Firstly, simple human error can cause a data breach. Secondly, the actions of an external party such as a hacker or cybercriminal could expose your data. Lastly, lax data, network and computer security protocols could put your data at risk.

Data And The Laws That Protect It

The government body responsible for overseeing compliance with data privacy and security regulations in the UK is the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). These regulations comprise of primarily the UK version of the General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA). These laws mainly apply to specific types of data, as defined below.

Your personal data, which is all of the information owned by you uniquely, or that identifies you. For example, your date of birth, name, phone number, postal address, email address, bank account details, and credit card or debit card information.

Your special category data, which is information about you that if exposed, could be exploited in some way. For example, your medical records, genome data, ethnicity, religious beliefs, sexual preference, or trade union membership.

Data Breach Statistics

By referencing data that has been published by the ICO, we can make the graph below. It shows the volume and cause of non-cyber security related data incidents in the UK. For the second quarter of the financial year 2021-2022.

statistical graph Non cyber data security incidents

Non cyber data security incidents

Examples Of Data Protection Breach Cases Against Hospitals

Can I sue for a data protection breach? This will depend on the circumstances of your claim. If an NHS data breach, or a private healthcare data breach was to occur would this mean you could make a data breach compensation claim?

A Midlands hospital has apologised over a Covid trial data breach. It appeared that when a mass email had been sent out the sender had not used the BCC field. Instead email addresses of all recipients were visible to all. The breach had been reported to the ICO. It happened due to human error and the trust could not reassure those involved that their email addresses had not been seen by others.

The ICO was happy with the response from the hospital trust and took no further action.

Resource: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-sussex-18293565

Examples Of Data Protection Breach Cases Against Government Departments

Government organisations, and even central government are covered by data security and privacy laws as well. The Data Protections Act 2018 and the UK General Data Protection Regulation UK GDPR have created a safer way for personal data to be processed. It is vital that these applicable laws are followed so that personal information is not at risk.

In 2021, the Cabinet Office was issued a £500,000 fine by the ICO. On 27 December 2019 the Cabinet Office published a file on GOV.UK. The recipients of 2020 New Year Honours list had their postal addresses and names uploaded. The list was made available online. Exposing the personal data of over 1,000 people.

Human Error Data Protection Breach Case Examples

Some data protection breach cases are the result of human error. Often due to poor staff training and employees being unaware of their data security and privacy responsibilities.

In 2021, the charity HIV Scotland was issued a £10,000 fine by the ICO. This was because the email address of 105 people including patient advocates were exposed due to human error. More than half of the addresses could identify people by name. Meaning assumptions could be made about people’s HIV status or risk. A mass email was sent without using the BCC box.

How Much Compensation Can You Get In Data Protection Breach Cases?

How much compensation can you get for a data protection breach? Depending on your induvial circumstances of the personal data protection breach you may be able to claim non-material damages and material damages. Non-material damages might be paid to cover mental health problems caused by the personal data breach. The table below, which is based on the guidelines from the Judicial College for valuing injuries, shows possible compensation ranges. You can also try using our compensation calculator to get a rough estimate.

Psychological Issue Notes Severity Compensation
Psychological damage Depression and anxiety negatively affect the quality of life for those with mental health issues. Severe £51,460 to £108,620
Psychological damage There will have been an improvement at first despite depression and anxiety concerns, so the prognosis should be good.  Moderate £5,500 to £17,900
PTSD Post-traumatic stress disorder affects the patient. The individual is likely to have made a good recovery in these situations, and any further mental health concerns are unlikely to significantly hamper their progress. Moderate £7,680 to £21,730
Psychological damage Disability awards are partly based on how severe and how long the impairment has been present. Then there is the category of minor injuries, including anxiety that is not associated with specific disorders. Less Severe £1,440 to £5,500
PTSD After being diagnosed, an individual will typically recover fully within a year, and minor symptoms shouldn’t last for longer than two years. Less Severe £3,710 to £7,680
Psychological damage The most prevalent mental disorders include depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem. The majority of awards fall in the middle of the bracket, despite supporting both ends.  Moderately Severe £17,900 to £51,460
PTSD Post-traumatic stress disorder is present in the patient. A traumatised person is unable to work or at least cannot function at the same level as before the trauma. Those effects may last a lifetime. Severe £56,180 to £94,470
PTSD A victim in this category is likely to recover some stability since professional assistance may be beneficial. Even so, there is still a possibility that the effects will lead to measurable disability, which may last quite some time. Moderately Severe £21,730 to £56,180

Material Damages Explained

Material damages are paid to make up for financial losses. For example, if a cybercriminal gained access to your bank account, and transferred all of your money out, you may be able to claim this loss back.

Can You Help Me Sue For A Data Protection Breach?

It may be possible for a No Win No Fee data protection solicitor to help by processing a data breach claim for you. There would not be any upfront or new claims fee due. You also wouldn’t pay your lawyer a fee if the claim fails. If the claim is won, you will likely have to pay your lawyer a small, legally limited success fee. The level of this fee would have been pre-agreed with you before the claim was begun.

This guide to data protection breach cases may have left you with additional questions. Or you may simply need some help getting a claim started. Either way, contact our claim advisors using the information below for more help.

Telephone: 0800 408 7825

Or use our webchat or contact form.

Learn More About Data Protection Rights

Here are some useful links to other websites.

Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2020

Make A Data Protection Complaint

Online Safety Data Initiative Blog

You may also like to check over these other guides.

How to claim for a breach of the UK GDPR

Learn more about misdirected fax data breaches. 

Dental Medical Data Breach Compensation Claims