How To Claim For A Psychiatrist Data Breach

Personal data breaches can be difficult to experience, especially if the data breach occurred due to the wrongful conduct of a trusted party, such as a psychiatrist.  

psychiatrist data breach

A guide on claiming for a psychiatrist data breach

This guide will look at how a data breach can occur and what you can do if you have been impacted by a breach. Throughout this article, you will find three terms: data subject, the data controller and data processor. 

Data Subject: The person whose personal data is processed.

A Data Controller: An organisation or agency that determines how to process the data. 

Data Processor: An organisation that processes the personal data on the behalf of the controller. 

If you want to make a psychiatrist data breach claim, this guide will offer information on how the process works and what you could do when making a claim. We can offer you free legal advice and support you through the claims process. 

If you are interested in discussing your claim, then get in touch with us by calling on 0800 408 7825

Alternatively, you can contact us through our live chat feature or via our website.

Select A Section

  1. What Is A Data Breach By A Psychiatrist?
  2. How Could A Psychiatrist Data Breach Happen?
  3. What Sensitive Information Could A Psychiatrist Hold?
  4. What To Do After A Psychiatrist Data Breach
  5. How Much Could You Claim For A Psychiatrist Data Breach?
  6. How We Could Help Victims Of Health Data Breaches

What Is A Data Breach By A Psychiatrist?

A psychiatrist is a medical professional that focuses on mental health issues. These issues can be diagnosed and treated by a psychiatrist. Examples of the types of mental health issues: 

  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Depression 
  • Bipolar Disorder (BD)
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Anorexia 
  • Bulimia

This is not a full list of the many different types of mental illnesses that could be treated by a psychiatrist. In addition, when discussing what a data breach is, we refer to it as the occasion when personal information is, without authorisation or unlawfully, lost, disclosed, changed, accessed or destroyed. 

In order to make a claim, you’d need to show that you suffered mental harm or financial loss (or both) because of the data breach. You’d also need to show that the organisation holding, collecting or processing your personal data failed to protect it, leading to the data breach.

If you have been a victim of a personal data breach, it would be beneficial for you to know about the time limits that are usually involved with the claims process. Generally, the time limit is 6 years, or a year if there is a public body involved. 

When you are ready to discuss your claim, don’t hesitate to contact us. Our advisors can review cases for free and go into detail about your legal options. If your case has been determined as valid, our advisors could pass the case over to one of our data breach solicitors. 

How Could A Psychiatrist Data Breach Happen?

The common causes of a data breach include incidents of human error or a cyber attack. Examples of how a data breach could happen include: 

  • Human error – this could involve someone sending an email or fax that contains personal data to the wrong person who isn’t authorised to receive it.
  • Leaving personal information where people who aren’t authorised to access it can do so.
  • A cyberattacker accesses online systems that contain personal data.

Organisations have a duty to report personal data breaches to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) within 72 hours of becoming aware of the breach if it risks the rights and freedoms of data subjects. They should also inform the data subject. 

Healthcare Sector Data Breach Statistics

The following statistics have been gathered from the ICO’s data security incident trends for the 3rd quarter of 2021/22. They outline the different forms of cyber and non-cyber security incidents in the healthcare sector. Consequently, there were a total of 467 data incidents that occurred between 01/10/2021 and 31/12/2021.

psychiatrist data breach statistics graph

The first graph shows the number of data breaches that occurred in the healthcare sector through non-cyber means. The leading cause of non-cyber incidents as unauthorised access. Similarly, this is followed by other non-cyber incidents.

The second graph shows the number of data breach incidents through cyber means. The leading cause of a cyber-attack incident is ransomware, then a hardware/software misconfiguration. This is followed by phishing attacks. 

What Sensitive Information Could A Psychiatrist Hold?

A psychiatrist could collect and store the personal data or sensitive information that you have offered. For instance, these pieces of information should be securely held whether digitally or through filing paperwork. 

For example, below there is a list of the types of sensitive information that a psychiatrist could hold:

  • Medical information – Prescriptions, therapy notes
  • Data from images 
  • Gender information
  • Sexual identity information
  • Political and religious beliefs

They could also collect personal information, such as: 

  • Date of birth
  • Full name – including first, middle and last names
  • Home address
  • Email address 
  • Phone number 
  • Bank details (if you pay privately, for example)

This is not a full list of the types of personal data and sensitive information a psychiatrist could hold. All this personal data is protected by data security laws. So, if this data is involved in a breach because the psychiatrist failed under the UK data protection laws to keep it confidential then you may be eligible to make a claim for a data breach by a psychiatrist.

What To Do After A Psychiatrist Data Breach

If you believe that you have been impacted by a personal data breach, you can contact the organisation directly. For instance, this can be done through email or through a phone call. In addition, the organisation should inform you if your information has been involved in a data breach and it has risked your rights and freedoms. 

Moreover, a complaint could be filed with the ICO. The ICO are a public body that enforces data protection legislation in the UK. If there is no or unsatisfactory contact from the organisation, you can contact the ICO. However, you’d need to do so within 3 months of that unsatisfactory response. 

The ICO could begin an investigation into the issue, and issue any appropriate penalties for any data breaches under the UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR). 

The UK GDPR works in tandem with the Data Protection Act 2018 to protect your personal data. In other words, it outlines the ways in which organisations should process people’s personal data and how it should be kept secure. 

How Much Could You Claim For A Psychiatrist Data Breach?

The table below has information collected from the Judicial College (JCG). They produce guidelines based on previously settled cases. 

Types of psychological issuesCompensation BracketDescription
Mental Health: Moderate£5,500 to £17,900This bracket includes harm that has resulted in permanent or a disability that has been prolonged.
Anxiety Disorder: Severe£56,180 to £94,470The permanent effects of symptoms that resemble PTSD, could have an impact on the day-to-day function or the ability to work.
Mental Health: Severe£51,460 to £108,620In the most severe cases, people will be suffering from problems with the ability to cope with life and work.
Anxiety Disorder: Moderate£7,680 to £21,730Largely recovered, with some lingering PTSD-like symptoms.
Mental Health: Less Severe£1,440 to £5,500This is depending on the length of time the disability has been going on and the extent to which it has affected daily activities.
Anxiety Disorder: Less Severe£3,710 to £7,680Including symptoms that are similar to PTSD, there will be a full recovery in a period of two years. Although there would be some minor symptoms persisting over a longer period.
Mental Health: Moderately Severe£17,900 to £51,460A good improvement of the symptoms, but still significant.
Anxiety Disorder: Moderately Severe£21,730 to £56,180The effects have an impact on the person for the foreseeable future, it could have caused a significant disability.

Types of Damages

There are two different types of damages that you could claim. They are called material damages and non-material damages. 

  • Material damages – the financial impact a data breach can have on a person. 
  • Non-Material damages – the mental health issues a data breach could have on a person’s mind. 

Additionally, there are some further parts of the process of claiming non-material damages, that you should be aware of. There may be a need for a medical assessment. This is to understand the impact and severity that the psychological issues have had on the person’s life. 

A case was made about claiming non-material damages: Vidal-Hall and others v Google Inc (2015). In the claim, there were cookies installed on the claimant’s computers without their knowledge or their consent. However, this is contrary to the position stated by Google, that the browser-generated content could be tracked or collated without the user’s permission. The Court of Appeal ruled that compensation must be considered for any psychological harm caused by data breaches, regardless of whether there was any financial loss or not. 

Therefore, now, you could claim for material damage or non-material damage, or both.

If you have any additional questions on how you could claim for material or non-material damages, you can contact us through our live chat feature or through our website. 

How We Could Help Victims Of Health Data Breaches

If you’re interested in hiring a solicitor for your claim, our team could help by assessing your case. Once they have assessed your claim, and if they have determined that it could be successful, they could then assign a solicitor from our panel of solicitors to represent you.

This is how you can contact us: 

No Win No Fee Agreement

When you are in the claim process, you may see the term No Win No Fee pop up over and over. No Win No Fee arrangements are types of agreements known as Conditional Fee Agreements (CFA). In addition, this is where claimants are able to hire legal representatives without the extra stress of paying legal fees upfront. 

For example, an unsuccessful claim would mean that you wouldn’t have to pay any success fee to your solicitor. A successful claim, on the other hand, means that you would have to pay a success fee. However, the success fee is capped by law. 

Related Medical Data Breach Claims

There are some resources that we have collected for you to have a read through. We have provided the links below: 

Additionally, we have provided some external resources from the ICO and other organisations to help you through the process of making a claim.  

If you are still struggling with the claims process for a personal psychiatrist data breach, you can get in contact with us today.

Article by LE

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