Can I Claim Compensation For Anxiety After A Data Breach?

The anxiety of a data breach can have a very real impact on the person it affects. Have you suffered some form of a data security incident with information that could be used to identify you? Did a third party fail to properly adhere to the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA) and UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR)? The repercussions of a personal data breach can be devastating to your mental health.


Can I claim for anxiety after a data breach?

We discuss the toll that stress due to a data breach can take on you and what evidence can prove the psychiatric damage you’ve suffered. In addition to this, we explain how you could start a claim for compensation. We also discuss how the help of a personal data breach solicitor can be beneficial to your claim.

If you would prefer, you can discuss your data breach anxiety claim right now with our advisers. It’s free to call and there is no obligation to proceed:

Select A Section

  1. When Could You Make A Claim For Anxiety After A Data Breach?
  2. What Are My Rights If Privacy Was Breached?
  3. What Could Be The Impact Of A Data Breach On Your Mental Health?
  4. How Do You Claim Compensation?
  5. Awards For Anxiety After A Data Breach
  6. Start Your Claim For Anxiety After A Data Breach

When Could You Make A Claim For Anxiety After A Data Breach?

Data controllers and processors are both entities that must adhere to the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA) and UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR). Both of these pieces of legislation are in place to protect your personal or personally sensitive data. When a data controller or processor fails in their legal obligation to protect this data, then if you suffer harm such as anxiety because of a personal data breach, you could be eligible to make a claim.

The UK GDPR and DPA are upheld by an independent body called the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). According to the ICO, personal data is data that can identify you. If the availability, confidentiality or integrity of your personal data is altered, lost, stolen, destroyed, accessed without authority, or verbally disclosed in a security incident, this is known as a personal data breach.

Also, there are special categories of personal data that are even more important to keep safe such as ethnic origin, medical history, or religious and philosophical beliefs.

What Is Anxiety After A Data Breach?

Anxiety is a mental health condition that the NHS describes as a feeling of unease, like worry or fear. Anxiety is the main symptom of many mental health disorders, such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), panic disorder, and many phobias.

When personal and sensitive personal data is exposed or accessed unlawfully, this can cause significant stress and anxiety. Contact our team of advisors today to find out if you could be eligible to make a data breach anxiety claim today.

What Are My Rights If My Privacy Was Breached?

A data controller is usually an organisation or company that says why and how your information shall be processed. They may employ a third-party company to act as their processor or they can do this in-house. However, for any personal data, they collect they must abide by data security laws. It is these laws that provide you, the data subject, with rights over the processing of your personal data.

You might be wondering about your rights after a data breach. Any party that discovers serious data breaches that could threaten the rights or freedoms of a subject has a legal duty to report it to the ICO within 72 hours.

If you believe your personal data has been affected by a breach, you can make a complaint directly to the organisation. If you do not receive a response, or if the response you receive is not satisfactory, you can complain directly to the ICO. While they cannot provide compensation, the ICO has the power to open an official investigation into the breach, and they may be able to fine the organisation.

Under the UK GDPR, a data subject has the right to make a personal data breach claim for compensation under certain circumstances. This is on the basis that the data controller or processor failed to comply with data security laws. This caused your personal data to be breached which led to the harm you suffered.

Our advisors can provide free legal advice to help you start your data breach anxiety claim when you get in touch today.

What Could Be The Impact Of A Data Breach On Your Mental Health?

The dread of knowing that you could be a victim of identity theft or sensitive and private information being in the public domain is enough to create significant mental health injury for some. Also, the stress and aggravation of trying to restore your data integrity and privacy can lead to:

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

You may also find that you suffer from symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following a personal data breach. This mental health condition can be the result of living through a traumatic event and can leave you with flashbacks, panic attacks, and intense anxiety.

If you are suffering from a mental health injury because of a personal data breach, contact our team of advisors today. They can tell you if you have a valid claim.

How Do You Claim Compensation?

Below is a checklist of actions that you can take to start a personal data breach anxiety claim. It’s important to note that you can do this independently or with the help of a personal data breach solicitor with whom we can connect you.

  • Identify when and where you believe the breach first happened or came to your attention (there is a six-year time limit for initiating a data breach claim which reduces to 1-year in cases against a public body.)
  • Complain to the organisation in question
  • Raise a concern with the ICO
  • Access your medical notes as proof of harm
  • Agree to an independent medical report. This is to assess the full extent of your injuries (a data breach solicitor can help arrange this for you)

Get in touch today to find out how a personal data breach solicitor from our experienced panel could help you start your claim.

Awards For Anxiety After A Data Breach

Data breach claims may award two types of damages that reflect emotional harm and financial impacts on the data subject. Firstly, Non-material damages are assessed with the help of guidelines by the Judicial College. These award brackets show guideline awards based on previous court cases.

A court of Appeal case called Vidal-Hall and Others v Google Inc. (2015) set a precedent as it ruled that non-material damages can be awarded even when the claimant is not seeking material damages.

Psychiatric & Psychological Harm Type JC Award Bracket Listing Supporting Notes
General Psychiatric Damage Severe Level (a) – £54,830 – £115,730 Injured person has a poor prognosis and extensive problems with work, relationships and all areas of normal life
General Psychiatric Damage Levels of Moderate – Severe (b) – £19,070 to £54,830 A long-standing disability that prevents a return to completely normal life but better prognosis than above
General Psychiatric Damage Moderate Level (c) – £5,860 – £19,070 Similar factors to the brackets above but with a better prognosis by the time the case MAY go to to trial
General Psychiatric Damage Less Severe Level (d) – £1,540 – £5,860 This bracket considers the length of disability caused, any specific phobias or impact on sleep
PTSD PTSD of a Severe Level (a) – £59,860 – £100,670 Permanent and debilitating impact on all areas of life, radically altering ability to cope at pre-trauma levels
PTSD More Moderately Severe PTSD Levels (b) – £23,150 – £59,860

This bracket has a more favourable prognosis than above due to professional intervention such as counselling
PTSD A More Moderate Type Level of PTSD (c) – £8,180 – £23,150

Largely recovered, any residual symptoms are deemed not significant enough to cause a problem
PTSD PTSD of a Less Severe Type (d) – £3,950 – £8,180

Full recovery over a 2 year period with only minor symptoms persisting

Material damages cover the financial impacts of the personal data breach. For example, under material damages, you may be able to claim:

  • Loss of earnings
  • Counselling or therapy costs
  • Expenses attached to replacing laptops, smartphones, or other IT devices
  • Stolen funds from bank accounts
  • In acute cases, any costs relating to changing jobs or moving home. Identity theft can cause profound disruption and suffering to the data subject for months or even years.

The figures provided here are only guidelines and not guarantees. For a free estimated valuation of your claim, contact our team of advisors today.

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Start Your Claim For Anxiety After A Data Breach

Under a No Win No Fee agreement you could fund the work of a data breach solicitor.

Our panel of solicitors may offer you a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA), a type of No Win No Fee agreement in which you pay none of your solicitor’s fees unless your data breach anxiety case succeeds. In this case, a legally capped percentage of your compensation will be taken as their success fee. Find out more when you:

Find Answers To Common Data Breach Questions In These Resources

Or, for more helpful information:

For more information on making a claim for anxiety after a data breach, contact our advisors today.