Expert Advice On Claiming For A Stolen Or Lost Device Data Breach

In this guide, we’ll show you how we could help you claim compensation if you’ve been affected by a stolen or lost device data breach.

Below, we explain the criteria to make a data breach claim, how much compensation you could receive, the impact a lost or stolen device can have, and what the claims process involves.

To see if you have a valid claim, why not call us today on 0800 408 7825? To learn more, please click through the sections below.

Select A Section

  1. What Is A Stolen Or Lost Device Data Breach?
  2. What Types Of Devices Could Be Stolen Or Lost?
  3. What To Do If Impacted By A Lost Or Stolen Device Data Breach
  4. Compensation Payouts For Stolen Or Lost Device Data Breaches
  5. How We Can Help You Claim Compensation
  6. Learn More About Lost And Stolen Device Data Breaches

What Is A Stolen Or Lost Device Data Breach?

A data breach involving a lost or stolen device is an incident in which the likes of computers, USB drives or external hard drives, which contain people’s personal data, end up in the hands of someone who has no right to them, or they’re lost altogether.

In many walks of life, we provide personal information to companies so that they can provide a service to us.

Since the introduction of the UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018, those companies must take steps to keep personal data safe.

Therefore, for any device that contains information that could identify people, the company responsible should take reasonable steps to keep it protected. If they don’t do this, and you suffer financially or psychologically as a result, you could make a data breach claim for compensation.

There is no doubt that portable devices can make it easier for companies to interact with their clients or customers. They can also reduce the amount of time it takes to complete tasks, and enable people to work from home or in other locations.

However, where personal data is stored on portable devices, there is a risk that if it gets lost or stolen, unauthorised individuals could access that information. 

Where this happens, the organisation might have to explain itself to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) which may conduct an investigation. What they can’t do, though, is award compensation to anybody who has been affected by the data breach. 

To receive compensation, you need to take legal action. Let’s look at the eligibility criteria for making such a claim.

Am I Eligible To Claim Following A Lost Device Data Breach?

If you can answer ‘yes’ to the following questions, you could be entitled to claim for a lost device data breach:

  1. Did the organisation lose a device containing information about you? If so, did the breach happen due to their failings?
  2. Did the incident cause you to lose money or suffer mental harm, such as distress or anxiety?
  3. Did the data breach happen within the last 6 years?

You can message us now via our live chat or call our free helpline to find out if you can make a data breach compensation claim today.

What Types Of Devices Could Be Stolen Or Lost?

The types of devices that could contain personal information and that might be lost or stolen include:

  • Computers and laptops
  • Tablet devices
  • Mobile phones
  • USB sticks
  • Memory cards
  • Other data storage devices

Importantly, to be eligible to claim, the organisation must have committed positive wrongful conduct. For example, if they failed to train employees in data security properly and therefore one of them left a laptop containing personal information on a train, you might be able to claim if this led to a data breach.

A common example is when a doctor leaves a laptop in their car which contains people’s medical records. The car is then subsequently stolen, meaning the laptop and data are lost. Let’s look at data breaches involving stolen computers in more detail.

Stolen Computers And Data Breaches

A stolen computer data breach can compromise your personal data in potentially significant ways. The UK GDPR defines personal data as any information that can identify you as an individual, which can include:

  • Name
  • Email Address
  • Location data
  • Identification numbers, such as NHS Number or National Insurance Number

The UK GDPR elaborates upon personal data and adds a list of sensitive information under their special category data, which includes:

  • Political affiliations
  • Ethnic or racial origin
  • Philosophical or religious beliefs 
  • Trade union membership
  • Genetic data
  • Biometric data
  • Health data
  • Sex life and orientation

Given that many of us work from home nowadays, there is a risk of laptops and computers being stolen or lost. And given the broad nature of roles people can perform at home, the risk of both personal and sensitive data being exposed is significant.

a person about to steal a mobile phone device

Statistics On Lost Or Stolen Device Data Breaches

Given how much of our data is entered into computers, someone losing a device or seeing it stolen could have major ramifications. 

For example, our research into the number of data breaches committed by the NHS in the last 3 years found that in 2022 there were 16 breaches relating to “loss/theft of a device containing personal data”. This jumped to 33 incidents in 2023 (data obtained from the Information Commissioner’s Office. To see a copy of the results, please get in touch).

The sharing of medical data can cause treatments to experience delays or test results to get lost. In some extreme cases, this could have a life-or-death impact on individuals.

Let’s explore what to do if you experience a data breach because of a lost or stolen device.

What To Do If Impacted By A Lost Or Stolen Device Data Breach

There are steps you can take if you’ve been impacted by a stolen device data breach.

Firstly, the organisation responsible for the breach should notify you of what has happened and what data has been affected. This is known as a data breach notification letter. It should also state what the organisation is doing to rectify the issue. 

If financial data is involved, it’s worth speaking to your bank. They can advise you on security steps you could take. It’s also wise to monitor your credit score in case anyone tries to take out credit in your name.

If your address, phone number and email address have been impacted, you may experience unwanted calls, texts and emails. It’s important to be vigilant. Some text messages, for example, are classed as phishing scams. This is where you receive a message from what appears to be an official organisation, like the Royal Mail. The message will seek to lure you into sharing more of your details.

In some cases, changing your phone number or email account may be the best course of action.

Compensation Payouts For Stolen Or Lost Device Data Breaches

The UK GDPR allows you to claim for two different types of damage if you’ve been affected by a lost device data breach:

  • Material damage: for money you’ve lost as a result of the incident.
  • Non-material damage: for any psychological suffering caused. This may include anxiety, distress, depression or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) for example.

If your claim is taken on by a solicitor from our panel, they’ll work with you to find out exactly how you’ve suffered. This will help them provide a more accurate calculation of your potential compensation payout.

Every claim is unique, so there’s no average payout we can state here. However, it’s possible to get an idea of what you could receive. In the table below, we’ve compiled figures taken from the guidelines used by lawyers to value injuries. It’s called the Judicial College Guidelines (17th edition). 

Type of ClaimSeverityCompensation Range
PTSDSevere (a)£56,180 to £94,470
Moderately Severe (b)£21,730 to £56,180
Moderate (c)£7,680 to £21,730
Psychiatric Damage - General
Severe (a)£51,460 to £108,620
Moderately Severe (b)£17,900 to £51,460
Moderate (c)£5,500 to £17,900

If you’d like a personal estimate of your potential settlement amount, why not reach out to us today? We offer free valuations as well as advice on your ability to claim. Let’s tell you more about how we can help you.

How We Can Help You Claim Compensation

Nobody wants to risk paying for a solicitor in a case that is unsuccessful. Therefore, our panel of solicitors provide a No Win No Fee service if your claim is accepted.

No Win No Fee means that you don’t have to pay any fees upfront or while the claim advances. If the claim fails, you still don’t pay a penny. Only if the case succeeds do you pay a fee, which is a fixed percentage of your compensation award, agreed with your solicitor before the case begins. This system allows anyone to get specialist legal representation.

 So to check if your claim could be handled on a No Win No Fee basis, please call us today.

Contacting Us

Our free-to-call phone lines are open 24 hours a day to offer you advice when you need it most. You can ask us any question at all, big or small, and if you’d like to start a data breach compensation claim, we can help with that too. So to get started:

  • Call our advisors on 0800 408 7825 to discuss your case.
  • Ask an online advisor to review your options.
  • Use our contact form to arrange a callback.

Please remember that you’ll get free legal advice whether you decide to make a claim or not.

Learn More About Lost And Stolen Device Data Breaches

You have reached the final section of this guide on lost or stolen device data breach claims. Therefore, we’ve linked to some additional guides for your information:

  • Mental Health Support – Details from the NHS on where to get support for conditions like anxiety.
  • ICO Action – Information on what action the ICO has taken recently.
  • Loss Of Earnings – Explains when you could claim for lost income during a claim.