In this article, we attempt to answer the question, ‘has my data been breached?’ We also address what a data breach is and how you might be able to tell if the security of your data has been breached.
This article will also look at how long you have after the incident to start a data breach claim and how long a claim could take before you receive compensation.
If you want to make a data breach claim, you must have experienced material and/or non-material damages. ‘Material’ references any financial loss that the data breach caused. Non-material damage is any psychological damage you suffered as a result of the data breach.
Read on to find out how to check if the security of your personal data has been breached. If you discover that you have been the victim of a data breach, get in touch with our advisors to talk about starting a claim. If they think your case has a good chance of success, they could connect you with a data protection solicitor from our panel, who can help you with your claim.
Select A Section
- Has My Data Been Breached?
- My Data Was Breached, What Should I Do?
- How Long Do I Have To Claim After My Data Has Been Breached?
- What Is The Time Limit To Claim After My Data Has Been Breached?
- How Much Could I Claim If My Data Has Been Breached?
- Has My Data Been Breached? How We Could Help
It is important first to discern what a data breach is to answer the question, ‘has my data been breached?’
Your data is protected by the Data Protection Act 2018 and the UK GDPR. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is the public body that enforces this data protection legislation. It defines a data breach as the unlawful or accidental alteration, loss, destruction, unauthorised access to or disclosure of personal data.
A personal data breach could be caused by human error, or it could be the purposeful actions of (for example) a cybercriminal. This article focuses mostly on data breaches caused by human error.
An organisation could inform you directly if there has been a breach of your personal data and it risks your rights and freedoms. They should get in touch with you to make you aware of exactly what has happened, what personal data was involved and what action they’re taking.
If you’ve been notified of a data breach or discovered one yourself, there are a few steps you can take. According to the National Cyber Security Centre, you can:
- Find out if you have been directly affected by a data breach by getting in touch with the organisation. You could do so via their official website or social media.
- Be alert for any suspicious messages after the breach is made public. A legitimate organisation will never ask you to supply personal information this way.
- If you receive a suspicious message that details a password you have used in the past, try not to panic. You should change this password as soon as you can if you still use it
- Check your online accounts for signs of unauthorised activity. If you are unable to access them, your security settings have changed, or there have been attempted logins from strange locations, this could be suspicious.
- Use an online data breach tool to see if your details have appeared in any other public data breaches.
If you’ve lost money, you should also report it to your bank.
To claim compensation for the breach occurring, you could contact a solicitor. You don’t need one to start a claim, but hiring one could give your case a better chance of success. Contact us today to find out more about what to do if your data has been breached.
This section focuses on how long a claim could take. Generally, there is no average length of time for a compensation claim. Each case is assessed individually, so complex cases could take longer than those where evidence or liability is clear.
There are a few things you can do to possibly make the claims process easier and quicker.
- Keep records of all evidence that could be relevant, such as correspondence between you and the organisation
- Gather as much evidence as possible
- Hire a solicitor to help you
If your data has been breached, you have a certain amount of time in which you have to start your claim. The time limitations are important because it will be time-barred if you attempt to start a claim after this period. Generally, we recommend that you start your claim as soon as possible, as it may make the process easier.
You have 6 years to start a claim against a non-public body. This includes companies and organisations, such as banks or businesses.
However, you have only 1 year to claim against a public body. This could be your local council, for example.
This section includes a table of figures taken from the Judicial College Guidelines, looking at compensation payouts for psychiatric damage. You should know that these figures are calculated from a gathering of previous payout amounts, meaning they are not a guarantee for your claim.
You will attend a medical appointment for a more accurate calculation of what you could receive for non-material damage. A medical professional will consider any mental health issues you may be suffering from and assess how they may continue to affect you in the future.
Injury Severity Amount Notes
PTSD Less Severe £3,710 to £7,680 Only minor symptoms will persist after 1-2 years.
PTSD Moderate £7,680 to £21,730 A good amount of recovery will have been made. Any persistent symptoms will not be disabling.
PTSD Moderately Severe £21,730 to £56,180 There will be an optimistic prognosis for recovery, but some serious issues may still persist.
PTSD Severe £56,180 to £94,470 Work, daily activities, sleep, relationships and education will be negatively affected in a permanent manner.
Psychiatric Less Severe £1,440 to £5,500 This bracket is judged upon how long the claimant was negatively affected and how much sleep and daily activities have been impacted.
Psychiatric Moderate £5,500 to £17,900 The claimant will have improved greatly by trial date. The prognosis for recovery will be good.
Psychiatric Moderately Severe £17,900 to £51,460 There will be difficulties with general life, relationships and activities. However, there will be a positive prognosis for recovery.
Psychiatric Severe £51,460 to £108,620 All areas of life will be severely affected. This includes work, relationships and education. There may be little chance for the claimant to fully recover to a pre-trauma level.
You could also claim for material damage. For example, if someone attained your credit card details and ruined your credit score, you could claim back the costs of fixing your score.
After the Vidal-Hall & Others v Google Inc  case, you can now claim for one type of damage and not the other, if applicable. You could also claim for both. For example, you could potentially claim if you have only suffered material damage with no related mental trauma. However, you can still make a claim for both types of damages as well.
Hopefully, you now understand more about how to check if your data has been breached. If you’ve confirmed that this has happened, we recommend hiring a solicitor to help you make a claim for compensation. A solicitor could offer their services on a No Win No Fee basis.
Generally, No Win No Fee is an umbrella term covering conditional fee agreements (CFA) and damages based agreements (DBA).
- In a CFA, your solicitor only deducts a success fee from your compensation if your claim succeeds. They cannot charge over 25% of your compensation.
- In a DBA, your solicitor will estimate how much you could receive at the beginning of your claim. Your solicitor won’t require payment unless you receive this amount or more. They also cannot charge over a certain percentage. The maximum percentage varies depending on the claim.
A No Win No Fee agreement could be beneficial to you if you would like to use the services of a solicitor with reduced financial risk. Under such an agreement, you wouldn’t have to pay the solicitor’s fee if the claim doesn’t succeed. You also wouldn’t have to pay any upfront or ongoing solicitor fees.
Why not get in touch today to find out more? Our team of advisors are available 24/7 to answer any further queries. And if you decide you want to start a claim, they can connect you with a specialist data breach solicitor from our panel.
Do I Have To Pay To Start My Claim?
There are no required upfront solicitor fee payments with a No Win No Fee agreement. Starting a claim is free of charge for anyone.
Our Related Guides
Thank you for reading our guide. We hope it answered the question, ‘has my data been breached?’ For further related guides, please see below.
Sue an Employer For Emotional Distress After a Data Breach – Learn how to claim against an employer if a data breach has caused you distress.
Can You Claim Compensation For an Email Data Breach? – Find out how to claim compensation for an email data breach.
Claim for a Wrong Postal Address Data Breach – Learn how to claim for a wrong postal address data breach.
National Cyber Security Centre – This sector of the government supports organisations in the UK with guidance about cyber security.
Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2021 – The government’s recent findings on cyber security incidents.
Information Commissioner’s Office – An independent body in the UK set up to uphold information rights.
If you need any more help to answer the question, ‘has my data been breached?’, just get in touch.
Article by AO