Data Breach Compensation Claims – FAQ

What are data breaches and how could they affect you? You may be reading this after your personal details were compromised. The consequences of a personal data breach can be disruptive and upsetting. It can lead to theft and fraud in your name and even emotional harm.

Frequently asked questions about data breaches

Frequently asked questions about data breaches

In this guide, we aim to answer some commonly asked questions about data breaches. We look at how laws in the UK such as the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA) and UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR) mean that any organisation that processes the personal data of UK residents must do so in accordance with the law.

You can speak to our team in confidence right now about initiating a claim for compensation after a damaging data security incident by:

  • Calling our advisors for free advice on 0203 870 4868
  • Contact us online
  • Or use the ‘live support’ option below

Select A Section

  1. What Are Data Breaches?
  2. How Do Data Breaches Happen?
  3. What Data Could Be Affected?
  4. Do I Have To Consent To My Data Being Used?
  5. How Much Compensation Do You Get For Data Breaches?
  6. Why Contact UK Law?

What Are Data Breaches?

Data breaches are security incidents, affecting your personal data and its integrity, its availability, or its confidentiality. But, before we look at how this can happen it’s important to understand what personal data is.

Any information that can be used on its own or in conjunction with other information to identify you is personal data. This could be your full name, postal address, or phone number. Personal data also includes special category data, which needs extra protections under data breach law due to its sensitive nature.

An independent body called the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) enforces the above legislation, and has the power to investigate and fine organisations that do not comply.

To learn more about making a personal data breach claim, contact our advisors today.

How Do Data Breaches Happen?

Data breaches can happen through a variety of means, from a cyberattack to human error. However, in order to form a valid claim, the UK GDPR states that the breach must:

  • Involve your personal data
  • Cause you harm
  • Result from the failings of the organisation responsible for your data

Some examples of how an organisation’s failings could result in a personal data breach include:

  • An email data breach could occur if an employee sends a email that contains your personal data to the wrong address. This allows unauthorised parties access to your data.
  • A staff member fails to redact your personal data from official documents before they share them.
  • An unauthorised third party accesses your personal data through a lost device that was not password protected.

Find out if you could make a personal data breach claim by getting in touch with our team of advisors today. Or, read on to learn more about personal data breaches.

What Data Could Be Affected?

As we have already mentioned, personal data is any information that could identify you. Some examples of personal data include your:

  • Name
  • Postal address
  • Email address
  • Phone number
  • Date of birth
  • Passport number
  • Debit or credit card number

Legislation also affords extra protection to special category data. Special category data is a kind of personal data that is sensitive in nature, and can include:

  • Health data
  • Biometric and genetic data
  • Your sexual orientation
  • Information regarding your sex life
  • Your trade union membership status
  • Your religious or philosophical beliefs
  • Your political views

Our advisors can answer any questions you may have regarding personal data breaches and the claiming process when you get in touch.

Do I Have To Consent To My Data Being Used?

There are 6 lawful bases for data processing. By law, any organisation that wishes to use your personal data must first establish a legal basis:

  • Contract
  • Legitimate interest
  • Consent
  • Vital interest
  • Legal obligation
  • Public task

As you can see, consent is only one of the six legal bases. If an organisation can establish a legal reason for which they need to use your personal data, they may be able to use it without your consent.

However, if they cannot establish a legal basis, then they may be processing your data unlawfully. Contact our advisors today to find out if you can make a personal data breach claim.

How Much Compensation Do You Get For Data Breaches?

The amount of compensation you could receive for a personal data breach relies on a number of factors: these include the losses you endure, the cause of the breach, and the extent of your suffering.

There are two heads of claim in personal data breach cases. These are material damage and non-material damage. Non-material damage provides compensation for the impact the breach has on your mental health. A personal data breach can cause anxiety, depression, stress, and other mental health injuries.

The table below shows potential compensation amounts for non-material damage awards. These figures have been taken from the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG). This document helps solicitors and other legal professionals when they value claims by providing guideline figures.  Please note that these are not guarantees, and the actual amount you could receive can vary.

Injury Type Severity Compensation Supporting Notes
General Psychiatric Injury (A) Severe £54,830 to £115,730

The impacted person will suffer from permanent issues in coping with daily life.
General Psychiatric Injury (B) Moderately £19,070 to £54,830 Significant, long-standing problems similar to above but with a better prognosis.
General Psychiatric Injury (C) Moderate £5,860 to £19,070

These issues improve by the time the case might go to court.
General Psychiatric Injury (D) Less Severe £1,540 to £5,860

The length of disability is taken into consideration plus the effect on daily activities such as sleep.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) (A) Severe £59,860 to £100,670 Acute cases that prevent work and impact the person’s life profoundly.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) (B) Moderately £23,150 to £59,860

Similar issues but an improvement with the intervention of professional counseling.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) (C) Moderate £8,180 to £23,150

A recovery largely, with non-disabling symptoms persisting.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) (D) Less Severe £3,950 to £8,180

A full recovery is made within 2 years with minor symptoms persisting beyond this period.

You might also be eligible for material damage. Material damage is the head of claim that provides compensation for the financial impacts of the breach. For example, a bank data breach may result in criminals stealing money from your bank accounts, or making illegal purchases on your credit card. This can also damage your credit score, and lead to debt.

For a free valuation of your claim, and to get free legal advice, contact our advisors today.

Why Contact UK Law?

Under a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA), you could get all the benefits of legal representation from an expert No Win No Fee solicitor from our panel. Generally, there are no upfront fees and no ongoing costs to pay to your solicitor when you hire them under a CFA. In fact, the only fee you pay to your solicitor under this kind of agreement is a success fee if your claim succeeds. If it doesn’t, your solicitor won’t take this fee.

Our advisors can provide free legal advice and more help with starting your personal data breach claim. They can also provide a free evaluation of your case. If they find that you have a valid claim, then they may connect you with an expert solicitor from our No Win No Fee panel. To learn more, get in touch by:

Read Our Guides To Different Types of Data Breaches

As well as data breaches in general, the guides below explain how you could start a claim in other scenarios:

Alternatively, for further resources:

To learn more about personal data breaches, get in touch with our team today.

Writer FE

Checked by HP