By Megan Webster. Last Updated 22nd August 2023. This guide will help you if you have experienced an optician data breach.
Optometrists or ophthalmic opticians are medical professionals who can detect diseases of the eye and sight problems amongst other medical issues regarding the eye. They work in hospitals or optician practices.
Dispensing opticians aren’t medically qualified, but can dispense glasses as well as interpret prescriptions.
Opticians will collect personal information from their employees and patients. But data protection laws in the UK require opticians to protect the personal data they collect. So if your medical records are compromised or other personal information is, you could claim compensation.
This guide will advise you on what to do if an optician breaches your personal data security. And we will explain how to claim optician data breach compensation.
If the positive wrongful conduct of an opticians practice led to a data breach and you suffered financial loss or mental harm as result, Public Interest Lawyers could help you. We can provide a No Win No Fee solicitor from our panel to manage your data breach compensation claim.
To begin your data breach compensation claim, please call Public Interest Lawyers on 0800 408 7825. Alternatively, continue reading this guide to learn more.
Select A Section
- Optician Data Breach Claims Explained
- What Is An Optician Data Breach?
- How Can A Medical Data Breach Happen?
- What Data Breach Compensation Damages Can You Receive?
- Data Breach Compensation Examples
- No Win No Fee Optician Data Breach Compensation Claims
- Talk To Us About Your Optician Data Breach Claim
- Where To Learn More
This guide has been created for people who have experienced an optician data breach. A data breach occurs when personal information is accessed, disclosed, destroyed, changed or lost unlawfully or without permission.
Personal information or personal data is any information that can be used to identify you, whether directly or indirectly.
Under the UK General Data Protection Regulation, you can claim compensation if an organisation’s wrongful conduct leads to a data breach in which your personal information is involved.
Firstly, let’s look at what the UK GDPR requires of organisations in more detail.
What Is The General Data Protection Regulation?
The UK General Data Protection Regulation sits alongside the Data Protection Act 2018. The purpose of the legislation is to protect the data privacy rights of data subjects.
Organisations that decide why and how personal data is used are called the data controller. And the data subject is an individual whose data is collected. Data processors are organisations that data controllers sometimes use to process personal data on their behalf.
The key principles of the UK GDPR require data controllers and processors to do the following:
- Personal data should be processed lawfully, fairly and transparently. Organisations must collect a person’s data only if they have given their permission unless there is a lawful exception.
- Organisations should collect personal data for specified and legitimate purposes.
- The organisation should not collect more personal data than necessary.
- The personal data should be kept accurate and up to date where necessary.
- Personal data should only be kept for as long as is necessary for processing.
- Organisations should ensure that personal data is kept secure.
- The data controller should be able to demonstrate accountability for the above 6 principles.
An optician data breach is a security incident at an optician’s practice (or hospital, for example), compromising personal data. Data breaches undermine the data subject’s privacy and personal security. Many data breaches happen because of human error: mishaps made by employees, for example. However, data breaches can be deliberate: a malicious person can cause a data breach to harm others.
A data breach by an optician can include the following:
- An optician loses personal data.
- An optician alters or destroys personal data without a lawful reason.
- Poor cybersecurity causes cybercriminals to access personal data.
- An employee leaks or exposes personal data without a lawful reason due to poor data protection training.
- The optician’s practice allows unauthorised persons to see the personal data.
Can you get compensation for a data breach?
If a data breach has caused you emotional distress or financial losses, you could claim compensation. A data breach at an opticians practice may expose medical records of a sensitive nature. Consequently, the victims of the data breach may experience emotional distress. What’s more, fraudsters may use your breached data to target you for identity theft. So, you may lose money as a result.
However, in order to make a successful personal data breach claim, you’d need to show that the positive wrongful conduct of the opticians department led to the data breach. For example, poor cybersecurity or substandard data protection training may have led to a breach.
If you wish to claim optician data breach compensation, we could help you. We could connect you with a knowledgeable data breach lawyer from our panel to take care of your claim. So, please get in touch with Public Interest Lawyers today to see if you can begin your claim.
Opticians should take practical steps to avoid breaching their patients’ and employees’ personal data. For example, opticians should have robust internal processes to help prevent data breaches. Moreover, opticians should have adequate security systems to protect their databases. Let’s look at some data breach examples of how an optician data breach can occur.
- An optician could be the target of a phishing scam. As a result, the optician could share personal information with a fraudster.
- An employee at an opticians practice could lose a device such as a work laptop. Therefore, unauthorised persons could find the laptop and access confidential files containing personal data.
- A staff member could accidentally email a copy of a prescription to the wrong email address, despite having the correct one on file. Consequently, the optician would share private medical records without consent.
- Similarly, an optician could send a letter to the wrong postal address, despite having the correct address on file. Therefore, the optician would share confidential medical information with the wrong person.
- Cybercriminals may target an opticians practice for a malware attack. Malware is malicious software that criminals could use to access personal information.
The General Optical Council Data Breach
In 2015, the General Optical Council (GOC) admitted to mistakenly sharing personal data. The data breach occurred when three organisations purchased the General Optical Council data.
The data included personal information belonging to individuals who had registered with the GOC. But the registrants had not consented to have their data shared with a third party. Subsequently, the third-party organisations contacted the registrants by post five times.
Time Limit For Making A Optometry Data Breach Claim
When making a claim for a data breach that compromised your personal data, you must also be aware of the time limits in place for starting legal proceedings.
Generally, there is a 6-year time limit for starting a personal data breach claim. However, if you are making your claim against a public body, the limitation period is reduced to 1 year.
One of the many benefits of working with a solicitor for your optometry data breach claim is that they can help ensure that your claim is filed in full within the correct limitation period. To see whether you may be eligible to work with one of the solicitors on our panel, you can contact our advisors.
As we have mentioned, an optician data breach can be a stress-inducing experience, especially if the privacy of medical records is breached. Indeed, many people suffer emotional distress if their data privacy is violated.
In some cases, a data breach may be traumatic for the victim. As a result, they may develop psychological injuries. Examples of psychological injuries include developing an anxiety disorder or severe depression.
Medical records data breaches can cause the victim to experience financial losses. If the patient has payment details with the opticians (such as for contact lens orders), the details may be accessed and used. Fraudsters may use breached personal information to scam the victims.
Optician data breach compensation payouts include up to two heads of claim to reflect these damages:
- Material damage compensates the person for monetary losses experienced.
- Non-material damage compensates the person for any distress of an emotional nature or psychiatric injuries suffered.
At this point, we must refer to the case of Vidal-Hall and others v Google Inc . This was a landmark case for data breach compensation claims due to The Court of Appeal’s decision. The Court stated that claimants could get compensation for emotional distress and psychological harm without needing to have experienced financial losses.
This table contains guideline brackets for the part of your claim that relates to the emotional impact of a breach. Note that the figures are from the 2022 version of the Judicial College Guidelines. This is a publication that legal professionals usually use to assign value to personal injury claims; however, it can also be used to value mental harm in data breach claims.
|Reason For Claim||Severity||Payout||Additional Comments|
|Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder||Severe||£59,860 to £100,670||The injured party is unlikely to return to either education or work. They are not likely to return to how they functioned pre-trauma and could be left with permanent symptoms.|
|Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder||Moderately Severe||£23,150 to £59,860||The injured party could make improvements if they get professional care. They may still have suffered significantly.|
|Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder||Moderate||£8,180 to £23,150||The injured party will have mostly have made a recovery.|
|Psychiatric Harm / Injury||Severe||£45,000 to £120,000||The injured party is likely to have been given a poor prognosis. Treatmentor care is unlikely to help and they could have problems with relationships, work or life.|
|Psychiatric Harm / Injury||Moderate||£20,570 to £45,000||Whilst the injured party will have been affected in a similar way to those above, they do have a better outlook for recovery.|
|Psychiatric Harm / Injury||Less Severe||£9,730 to £20,570||The injured party should have a good outlook for recovery.|
You could also be compensated for any financial losses caused by the breach. For instance, your credit card details could be exposed, causing you to lose money. You will need to provide evidence of the financial losses you experienced.
Find out more about claiming compensation for the exposure of personal data by calling our team at any time.
Our panel of solicitors can handle your opticians data breach claim on a No Win No Fee basis. No Win No Fee means that you will be charged a success fee if your claim is successful. If your claim is unsuccessful, you will not have to pay any solicitor fees at all. You would sign a Conditional Fee Agreement (otherwise known as a No Win No Fee agreement).
Here are some of the advantages of making a No Win No Fee claim:
- Firstly, you don’t have to pay an upfront solicitor’s fee. Instead, the success fee is paid out from your compensation package at a capped rate.
- Secondly, you will pay a success fee only if you win.
- Thirdly, there are no ongoing solicitor fees.
If an optician data breach has affected you, you may be eligible to claim compensation. Get in touch with Public Interest Lawyers and, if you have a valid claim, we can assign an experienced solicitor to work on your case.
Please get in touch with us using the details below:
- Call us on 0800 408 7825
- Contact us via our website
- Or use our Live Customer Support widget to speak with an advisor
Please read the following guides to learn more about data breaches.
A guide to personal data breaches from the ICO
How to raise your concerns about a possible data breach
A government guide to reporting phishing scams
Thank you for reading our guide to claiming after an optician data breach.
Article by AH