Claiming For A Psychologist Data Breach

Have you suffered due to a psychologist data breach? Was this caused by failings on the part of the party in control of the data? If so, you could be entitled to claim. This article will explain the types of clinical data breaches that can occur and the legislation that protects personal data. We will also explain what can cause a breach as well as how much compensation you may be eligible to receive.

Psychologist data breach claims guide

Psychologist data breach claims guide

A breach of personal data can have a number of different effects on you. It could impact you financially in a way that causes you to lose money. Alternatively, it could have a psychological impact. You could be compensated for each of these individually or both of them together. 

Our advisors can provide free, relevant legal advice around the clock and help you determine whether you have a valid claim.  They may even forward you to our panel of No Win No Fee solicitors who can begin the claiming process. Get in contact today by: 

Select A Section

  1. What Is A Data Breach By A Psychologist?
  2. What Are The Types Of Clinical Data Breach?
  3. Types of Clinical Data Protected By The UK GDPR
  4. Causes Of Clinical Data Breaches
  5. Psychologist Data Breach Compensation Calculator
  6. Begin Your Claim For A Psychologist Data Breach

What Is A Data Breach By A Psychologist?

The UK GDPR and a version of the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA) that has been updated after the UK left the EU are the pieces of legislation that make up the regime that dictates data protection in the UK. The UK’s independent authority on information rights, the Information Commissioner’s Office, defines a personal data breach as a security incident that affects the confidentiality, integrity or availability of personal data. This can be as the result of a deliberate action or human error.

Personal data is any information about you that is stored (either digitally or physically) and could be used to identify you either alone or when combined with other information.

The ICO also outlines special category data, or extra sensitive personal information, which you may share with a healthcare professional. Special category data is more sensitive, and so requires more protection. It can include: 

  • Racial or ethnic origins
  • Political opinions 
  • Religious or philosophical beliefs 
  • Sexual orientation

For more information on whether you could claim for a psychologist data breach, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team today.

What Are The Types Of Clinical Data Breach?

According to statistics from their website, the first quarter of 2019/20 to the third quarter of 2021/22, there were 28,369 security incidents reported to the ICO. Of these, 21,286 were non-cyber incidents and 7,083 cyber incidents. 

Of these non-cyber incidents, 2,987 involved data being posted or faxed to the wrong recipient, 2,062 involved the loss or theft of paperwork or data that was left in an unsecured location, and 1,023 involved a failure to redact.

Types of Clinical Data Protected By The UK GDPR

The UK GDPR establishes 7 key principles that should lie at the heart of any organisation’s data protection policy: 

  • Lawfulness, fairness and transparency- the processing of personal data must be lawful and fair. You should be transparent about the way you process personal data. 
  • Purpose limitation- data should only be collected for a specified and explicit purpose and not processed further in a way that isn’t compatible with this. 
  • Data minimisation- only collect the data that is necessary for the purposes of the processing.
  • Accuracy- ensure that data is accurate and kept up to date. 
  • Storage limitation- personal data should only be retained for as long as is necessary for the purposes of the processing.
  • Integrity and confidentiality- make sure that the data is sufficiently protected. 
  • Accountability- data controllers should be able to demonstrate compliance with these other principles. 

Health data is often included in clinical breaches and is defined in the DPA as, personal information relating to an individual’s physical and mental health. This data is subject to the same regulations laid out in the DPA and UK GDPR. As well as adhering to the principles above, the party processing the data should ensure that this is only done when there’s a lawful basis for doing so. 

Contact our advisors today if you have any questions on making a claim for harm caused by a psychologist data breach that exposed your personal data.

Causes Of Clinical Data Breaches

Data breaches can happen because of the deliberate, malicious action of someone who is trying to access personal data for their own benefit. However, it can also happen because of human error. In this section, we will focus on human error data breaches, but you can claim for harm caused by either kind of breach provided that it happened because of the failings of the party who was processing your personal data. 

A human error data breach could include: 

  • A filing cabinet not being locked after someone retrieves a file, exposing your personal data
  • An email is sent to a mailing list but the sender fails to use the BCC function, meaning that your email address is exposed to everyone else on the email thread
  • A misdirected fax containing your personal data is sent to the wrong person. As a result, someone else without authorisation can access your personal data.
  • Your psychologist sends an email containing your personal data to the wrong postal address, despite the fact that you’ve told them about your change of address through the correct channels

Contact our advisors today for more information on data breaches and they can help understand whether your data has been breached.

How To Prevent Data Breaches In Healthcare

There are measures an entity can put in place to decrease the likeliness of human error. Some examples of preventative measures include:

  • Mandatory training 
  • Sufficient supervision
  • Updating policies and work cultures around data protection 
  • Investigating root causes of incidents 
  • Implementing a culture of trust 
  • Restricting access
  • Auditing

Psychologist Data Breach Compensation Calculator

If your claim is successful, you will receive data breach compensation. In such cases, the harm you experience can fall into two distinct categories, which are:

  • Material damages – This describes any monetary loss you experienced as a result of the breach 
  • Non-material damages – This entails any psychological or emotional harm it causes, such as stress, depression  

General damages cover the suffering inflicted due to your injuries, and the amount of compensation you could receive is worked out with the help of the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG). The JCG publish guideline brackets of compensation according to the severity and type of your injury.

The following table shows some of these brackets:

Injury Compensation Notes
Severe mental harm (a) £51,460 to £108,620 Marked problems with various areas of life and prognosis for recovery is poor.
Moderately severe mental harm (b) £17,900 to £51,460 Although problems will be significant, there will be a much better prognosis than in more serious cases.
Moderate mental harm (c) £5,500 to £17,900 While there are similar symptoms to more serious cases, there will be some improvement and a good prognosis.
Less severe mental harm (d) £1,440 to £5,500 The award amount will take into account how badly different areas of daily life were affected.
Severe anxiety disorder (a) £56,180 to £94,470 The claimant will be unable to function in the same way they did before the trauma occurred.
Moderately severe anxiety disorder (b) £21,730 to £56,180 Although symptoms will be significantly disabling for the foreseeable future, the prognosis will be better than in more severe cases.
Moderate anxiety disorder (c) £7,680 to £21,730 If there are any ongoing effects, they will largely not affect the claimant’s ability to cope to a large degree
Less severe anxiety disorder (d) £3,710 to £7,680 A virtually full recovery will have been made within a year or two. If any symptoms do persist, they will be minor.


The Court of Appeal case of Vidal-Hall v Google [2015] case means that now you don’t need to have suffered financially to make a . Contact our advisors today to see if you are eligible to make a data breach claim.

Begin Your Claim For A Psychologist Data Breach

If you’d like to know more about making a claim, our advisors are available to provide more information on the topic. They may also pass you to our No Win No Fee data protection solicitors who can begin your claim; with their support and guidance, you may find that the process of claiming runs more smoothly than it would otherwise.

Our panel of lawyers can represent you with a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) in place, which is a type of No Win No Fee arrangement that can be very beneficial. When working under a CFA, your lawyer requires no upfront or ongoing costs and you will pay nothing if the claim is not successful. If your case succeeds, they will take a percentage of your compensation as a success fee to cover their legal costs. This is subject to a legal cap which stops your solicitor from overcharging you. 

If you have a valid claim for harm caused by a psychologist data breach, then get in touch with our advisors today by: 

Healthcare Sector Data Protection Resources

Please see our other helpful articles:

Private Healthcare Data Breach Compensation Claims Guide

The Evidence Needed To Make A Claim For A UK GDPR Data Breach

How Can A UK GDPR Breach Happen And When Could You Claim?

Additionally, we have provided some helpful external links:

ICO – Your data matters

The ICO Guide to the Data Protection Act

ICO – Individual Rights

Contact our advisors for more information on a psychologist data breach today. 

Article by AA

Publisher ET