If your personal information was sent to the wrong address and this caused you to experience emotional harm, monetary loss, or both, you may wonder whether you could make a personal data breach claim. Throughout this guide, we discuss the eligibility requirements for initiating legal proceedings as well as the evidence you could gather to support your case.
There are two pieces of legislation that set out the responsibilities certain parties have to protect your personal data called the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA) and the UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR). The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), an independent body set up to uphold information rights and freedoms, enforces these data protection laws. Later in this guide, we discuss how these laws could be breached leading to your personal data becoming compromised and the ways in which this could affect you.
Additionally, we look at data breach compensation payouts including what they can include following a successful claim and how they are calculated.
In the final part of our guide, we explain the ways in which a No Win No Fee data breach solicitor from our panel could assist you through the claims process.
For further guidance on your potential data breach compensation claim, please contact an advisor. You can do so by:
Choose A Section
- Can I Claim If Personal Information Was Sent To The Wrong Address?
- How Could Personal Information Be Sent To The Wrong Address?
- Claiming For A Personal Data Breach – Examples Of Potential Compensation
- What Could Help Me Claim Data Breach Compensation?
- Make A Data Breach Claim With A No Win No Solicitor
- Learn More About Data Breach Claims
Two parties have a responsibility to adhere to the DPA and the UK GDPR. These are data controllers, the party responsible for setting the means and purpose for processing your personal data, and data processors, the party responsible for processing personal data on behalf of the controller. In some cases, the data controller may process the personal data themselves instead of outsourcing this task to a processor.
If either of them failed to adhere to data protection laws, and this led to a breach compromising your personal data, it could have resulted in you experiencing psychological damage, financial loss, or both together.
A personal data breach can be defined as a security incident that affects your personal data’s integrity, availability or confidentiality. In order to make a claim following a breach of your personal data, you must prove the following:
- There was a failure by the controller or processor to uphold their responsibilities as set out in data protection laws.
- Due to this failure, your personal data was compromised in a breach.
- As a result, you experienced mental harm, monetary loss, or both.
Please contact our team of advisors to see if you are eligible to make a personal data breach claim. Should the team discover you have valid grounds, they could connect you with a data breach solicitor from our panel who could begin assisting you through the claims process.
The term personal data describes information that can be used to identify you either directly or indirectly, when used with other information. For example, your name, email address, postal address, phone number, and credit or debit card details are all personal data.
Additionally, there is another type of personal data known as special category data which is sensitive and needs extra protection. This can include, for example, data revealing your ethnic or racial origin, data concerning your health, such as your medical records, and biometric data when used for identification purposes.
Human error could lead to your personal information being sent to the wrong address. Examples of what personal information could be sent and how this could impact a person include:
- A letter from your bank containing your new credit card and pin number could be sent to the wrong address. As a result, fraudulent loans are taken out in your name causing you financial loss and stress.
- A letter containing details about a medical condition is sent to the wrong address. This leads to you experiencing anxiety and emotional distress.
To discuss the specific circumstances surrounding your case, please contact an advisor. They can help you understand the next steps you could potentially take, including whether you’re eligible to make a data breach claim.
A successful data breach claim could see compensation for two types of damage awarded:
- Material damage: This is the financial loss you have incurred as a result of the personal data breach. For example, any money stolen from your account or loans taken out in your name due to a debit or credit card data breach, or lost income due to having to take time off work because of the mental harm caused.
- Non-material damage: This is the mental harm you have experienced as a result of the personal data breach, including stress, anxiety, depression or, in more severe cases, post-traumatic stress disorder, (PTSD). It could also include existing mental health problems that have been made worse by the breach.
When valuing non-material damage, solicitors and other legal professionals, can use the guideline award brackets corresponding to different types of mental harm in the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG).
Award Bracket Guidelines
We have provided an excerpt of the figures from the JCG in the table below. Please only use these as a guide though because settlements will vary.
|Compensation Bracket – Guidelines
|£54,830 to £115,730
|The person has a prognosis which is very poor and marked problems impacting multiple areas of their life.
|(b) Moderately Severe
|£19,070 to £54,830
|Whilst there are significant problems affecting multiple areas of the person’s life, the prognosis is better than the bracket above.
|£5,860 to £19,070
|Similar issues with several areas of the person’s life persist but there is a significant improvement and good prognosis.
|(d) Less Severe
|£1,540 to £5,860
|The award given will depend on factors such as how long the person was affected and to what extent.
|£59,860 to £100,670
|Permanent issues preventing the person from working or functioning at the level they were at before the trauma. All areas of their life will be negatively affected.
|(b) Moderately Severe
|£23,150 to £59,860
|An improved prognosis after the person recovers due to receiving help from a professional.
|£8,180 to £23,150
|The injured person has recovered significantly and any ongoing issues won’t cause a major disability.
|(d) Less Severe
|£3,950 to £8,180
|Within 2 years an almost complete recovery is seen. Only minor issues will continue over a longer period.
Call our team if you would like to discuss your potential data breach compensation payout.
Gathering evidence could help support your data breach claim after personal information was sent to the wrong address. For example:
- Medical evidence showing psychological damage you experienced. This could include doctor reports or reports from a specialist.
- Proof of financial loss, such as bank statements, credit reports, and wage slips.
- Correspondence between you and the organisation which detail the nature of the breach, including how it happened and what personal data was affected.
Data controllers must inform you of a personal data breach if it has put your rights and freedoms at risk. They must do this without undue delay. One way they could notify you of the breach is by sending a letter of notification which you can use as evidence to support your case.
If you suspect a breach has occurred, you could also contact the organisation directly. Any emails or letters sent between you could be used as evidence as well. However, if the organisation fails to respond or does not respond adequately, you can make a complaint to the ICO. Whilst the ICO cannot award compensation, they could investigate your case and any findings from this investigation could be used as evidence to support your case.
Another step you could take is to seek legal representation from a solicitor with experience handling data breach claims. If you are interested in seeking help from a solicitor, you could get in touch with our advisors. They may connect you with one of the solicitors from our panel if they find your case is valid.
You can call our team for more information using the number above.
One of the solicitors from our panel could offer a No Win No Fee contract called Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). This generally means that you won’t need to pay for your solicitor’s services at the following times:
- When your claim begins.
- As your claim proceeds.
- If your claim has a failed outcome.
If your claim has a successful outcome, your solicitor can take a success fee from your compensation. They take this as a percentage which is subject to a cap as per the law.
For more information on whether you’re eligible to instruct a solicitor from our panel and the ways in which they could assist you, please contact an advisor. They can answer any questions you might have and can assess your case for free. If they find you have valid grounds to proceed, they could assign a solicitor to start working on your case. Find out more today by:
- Filling out our ‘Contact Us’ form.
- Calling 0800 408 7825
- Chatting with an advisor via the live chat function below.
You can find more of our guides relating to claims for a data breach below:
- Find out what steps you could take after receiving a data breach notice letter and whether you could claim compensation.
- Learn if you could seek compensation after confidential information was sent to the wrong email address and how a solicitor could assist you.
- Read our guide on when you could claim after a fax was misdirected and how settlements are calculated.
Additionally, please find some external resources that could benefit you:
- Find out about your right to get your data deleted with a helpful ICO guide.
- An NHS guide about stress.
- A Government guide about how to make a complaint about data protection breaches.
If you have any other questions regarding whether you can claim after your personal information was sent to the wrong address, call an advisor using the number above.