Data Breach Compensation Claims Guide

By Danielle Fletcher. Last Updated 30th January 2024. In this guide, we’ll discuss data breach compensation examples and when you could make a valid claim following a breach of your personal data.

All organisations that process your personal data must adhere to the rules and regulations set out for them in the UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA). Failure to do so could result in a data breach that compromises your personal data. If you can prove your personal data was breached due to an organisation’s failings, and as a result of this, you suffered financial loss or mental harm, you may be eligible to make a personal data breach claim.

Within this guide, we will discuss in more depth when you could make a claim for a UK GDPR breach and the compensation that could be awarded for successful claims. Furthermore, we will share examples of how a data breach could occur and the evidence you could use to support your personal data breach claim. This guide will also explore some of the benefits of making a claim with a No Win No Fee solicitor.

To find out whether you may have an eligible claim and to receive free advice, you can contact our advisors. They are available 24/7 to help answer your questions and can be reached by:

Data breach compensation

Data Breach Compensation Claims Guide

Select A Section

  1. What Is A Data Breach An When Could I Claim?
  2. What Evidence Can Help A Data Breach Compensation Claim?
  3. How Can Data Breaches Happen?
  4. Data Breach Compensation Examples
  5. Making Data Breach Claims With A No Win No Fee Lawyer
  6. Read More Data Breach Compensation Guides

What Is A Data Breach And When Could I Claim?

A data breach is a security incident that affects the integrity, security, or availability of your personal data. This is any data that can be used to identify you as a living person. As we’ve already mentioned, this data is protected by the UK GDPR and the DPA.

The two parties who process to your personal data are known as data controllers and data processors. A controller decides how to use your data, and why they need it; then, a processor follows their instructions.

Article 82 of the UK GDPR sets the eligibility requirements for data breach claims. In order to seek compensation for a data breach, you must be able to prove that:  

  • The data controller or processor failed to adhere to data protection legislation, causing a breach
  • This breach affected your personal data
  • As a result of the compromise of your personal data, you suffered harm. This harm could be damage to your mental health, financial losses, or both. 

Please contact our advisory team today to get more information on claiming data breach compensation and to learn more about the claims process.

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What Evidence Can Help A Data Breach Compensation Claim?

You could be awarded compensation for a data breach if it involved your personal information and you suffered mentally and/or financially. Providing sufficient evidence could help increase your chances of securing compensation. Some of the evidence that could be collected to support claims for a personal data breach in the UK include:

  • A notice letter from the organisation responsible for the breach stating that your personal data was compromised. This letter should also state what personal information was involved in the breach, e.g., your email address and phone number.
  • You could report the data breach to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). They are an independent body that upholds information rights. They could investigate the breach, and their findings could be used as evidence.
  • A copy of any scam emails or text messages that you may have received following the personal data breach.
  • A copy of your medical records stating that you were diagnosed with a mental injury, such as anxiety, following the breach.
  • A copy of your bank statements to prove any financial losses, such as money being taken from your account.

Do not hesitate to contact our advisors today to receive free legal advice regarding your claim. They could also answer questions you may have about the UK GDPR or compensation claims for a personal data breach.

How Can Data Breaches Happen?

We’ve touched upon some of the ways in which a data breach can happen. They may involve deliberate, criminal acts, or simple incidences of negligence.

Regardless of how a breach occurs, it could cause significant damage to those affected.

In this section of our guide to seeking data breach compensation, we wanted to provide you with examples of ways in which breaches can happen. Largely, they fall into two categories—those relating to cybersecurity and everything other than cybercrime-based breaches.

Cyber Security

If you’ve heard about significant data breaches in the news, it’ll most likely be the result of some form of cybercrime.

Some of the most common data breaches relating to cybersecurity involve:

  • Ransomware attacks – hackers gaining access to systems and adding a layer of encryption to prevent people from gaining access. Data is often stolen too, with copies made. The ability to regain access to data, or to secure the deletion of stolen information, often involves a ransom being paid to the hackers. This is what happened with the Blackbaud hack.
  • Phishing – this cybersecurity threat is on the rise. Phishing attempts involve posing as a legitimate organisation to trick people into entering their private and sensitive information. This may be a username or password, which hackers can then use to gain legitimate access to servers.
  • Malware – this is an umbrella term for any type of software that’s designed to harm a computer or network.

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Non-Cyber Security

Non-cyber security data breaches often relate to instances of human error. Some examples include:

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Data Breach Compensation Examples

If you make a successful personal data breach claim, you could be awarded compensation for your material and non-material damage.

Material damage refers to the psychological harm you have suffered due to your personal data being breached. For example, you may suffer with anxiety following a personal data breach.

To help value mental suffering in data breach cases, those responsible for evaluating claims may refer to the guideline compensation brackets for psychiatric injuries within the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG). This text contains a list of mental injuries alongside compensation guidelines for each.

In our table below, we’ve provided a few figures from the 16th edition of the JCG. We’ve also included a figure in the top row that shows you how compensation could be awarded for serious mental harm and financial losses. This figure is not from the JCG. 

As every data breach claim is different, our table does not represent your possible settlement.

Psychiatric HarmCategoryNotesGuideline Amount
Very serious psychiatric damage plus material lossVery SevereSettlements may include compensation for very serious psychological damage and any financial losses, such as credit score damage.Up to £250,000+
Psychological DamageSevereIn general, the claimant cannot cope with family and other relationships, work and education. This severity has an overall very poor prognosis. £54,830 - £115,730
Moderately SevereAlthough there is a more positive prognosis in this category, the claimant suffers significant problems with their relationships and coping with life. £19,070 - £54,830
ModerateThe claimant has suffered in a similar way to the above categories. However, they've experienced marked improvments.£5,860 - £19,070
Less SevereThe length of time the claimant suffered with the disability and how it impacted their daily life is taken into account. £1,540 - £5,860
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)SevereIn this category, the claimant suffers with permanent symptoms that negatively impact all areas of their life. £59,860 - £100,670
Moderately SevereAlthough professional help can result in some recovery, the claimant suffers a significant disability that will last into the future.£23,150 - £59,860
ModerateThere may be some continuing symptoms, but these will not have a major impact. £8,180 - £23,150
Less SevereAlthough some minor symptoms may continue, the claimant has made almost a full recovery within 2 years. £3,950 - £8,180

You could also be awarded data breach compensation for your material damage. This refers to the monetary losses you have experienced due to the personal data breach. Some examples could include:

  • Charges being made to your credit card if this information was breached.
  • Loss of earnings due to time off work because of your mental injuries caused by the personal data breach.
  • Any money withdrawn from your bank account if this information was breached.

Providing evidence such as bank statements and payslips could help support your claim.

To discuss your particular case and receive a free valuation, you can contact a member of our advisory team.

Making Data Breach Claims With A No Win No Fee Lawyer

A solicitor from our panel could help you with your personal data breach claim. They have years of experience handling personal data breach claims and could help you with gathering evidence. Additionally, if one of them agrees to take on your case, they may offer to work with you on a No Win No Fee basis under the terms of a Conditional Fee Agreement (which is a type of No Win No Fee agreement).

When working with a No Win No Fee solicitor, they won’t ask you to pay upfront fees. If your claim is not successful, you usually won’t be expected to pay your solicitor for their services. Alternatively, if your claim does succeed, your solicitor will deduct a legally capped success fee from your compensation.

Get in touch with our advisors if you have any questions about claiming compensation for a data breach. Our advisors can offer you free advice for your potential claim and could connect you with a solicitor from our panel.

Contact our advisors today:

  • Call our free 24/7 advice line on 020 3870 4868
  • Use our live chat feature.
  • Or complete an online claim form for a free call back.

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Read More Data Breach Compensation Guides

You may also find the following guides on data breach claims useful:

We hope our guide on data breach compensation amounts in the UK and other related matters has been useful for you.