A Clinic Breached Data Protection Law – Can I Claim Compensation?
If a clinic breached data protection legislation, then this could mean that your health data could be at risk. As you will see as you go through the guide, data protection legislation is in place to ensure the safety of your personal data, this can include information that is considered sensitive such as health data.
Under the UK General Data Protection Regulation, healthcare information that is considered personal data is classified as special category data because of its sensitive nature. Therefore organisations must meet specific requirements when they process your medical data. Organisations that process your personal data are known as data controllers this could be the NHS or a private healthcare facility.
Please contact UK Law to see if you can make a data breach claim.
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Personal data is information that others can use to identify us. For example, personal data can include our name or date of birth. Moreover, personal data can include information about you, for example, whether you suffer from a health condition. A personal data breach can happen through a security incident which means your personal data has been comprised.
Under the UK GDPR and the Data Protection Act 2018, organisations are supposed to protect the personal and sensitive data they collect. Organisations should enact security measures to protect the data, including investing in computer security systems to protect against cyber attacks. Moreover, employees who have access to data should be trained adequately so that they can keep any personal data secure and available.
So, if a clinic has breached data protection law, it may have failed to adhere to the laws that protect personal data. Data breach victims may experience stress because of a data breach, and their emotional distress may develop into a mental illness such as anxiety or depression. Moreover, data breaches can lead to financial losses.
A personal data breach can be accidental or deliberate. It may mean that personal data is lost, stolen, altered, destroyed, unlawfully disclosed or accesed without authorisation. Cyber security incidents can lead to a personal data breach, but these incidents are more likely caused by human error.
How Could A Clinic Have Breached Personal Data?
A clinic may have breached personal data because of the following mishaps:
- Misdelivery of data, which could mean a clinic posted or emailed the wrong address with personal data.
- A cyber attack infiltrated online files containing personal data because the organisation failed to keep up to date with their cyber security defence.
- Lack of training meant an employee shared personal data about a customer to someone who had no authority to have access to it.
- There was no lawful basis to process the personal data.
- A clinic failed to use Bcc on a mass email. Therefore the recipient’s email addresses are shared.
- Or a clinic may have lost your medical records, which can affect your future medical treatment.
If a clinic has breached your clinical records because they failed to comply with data protection legislation, they may be liable for any emotional or financial harm that befell you afterwards. Please contact UK Law to enquire about making a data breach claim.
If you believe a clinic has breached your data, you can raise your concerns with the company. You can do this in the following ways:
- Firstly please complain to the organisation that you believe has breached or misused your personal data.
- Give the organisation 30 days to respond. Please feel free to politely chase up your request if you do not receive a response.
- If you do not receive a clear or satisfactory response from the organisation, you can ask for clarification and potentially escalate your complaint.
- If the organisation fails to respond satisfactorily, you can complain to the ICO. Please do so within three months of your last meaningful contact with the clinic.
The Information Commissioner’s Office, apart from other roles, has reportable personal data breaches reported to them from different organisations in various sections. Below we have compiled a graph showing how many data security incidents were reported to them from the health sector. It also shows what type of incident may have left personal data at risk.
The data below comes from the 4th financial quarter report for non-cyber incidents reported to the ICO by the health sector.
For a successful personal data breach claim, you can receive up to two types of damages. These are:
- Material damage, which will reimburse you for the financial losses caused by the data breach.
- Non-material damage, which will compensate you for the psychological injuries or emotional distress you endured.
Material damage is not included in the table, as these can vary greatly from case to case. The Judicial College’s 16th edition compensation guidelines which were updated for 2022, were used to create the table.
|Reason For Damages||Notes||Settlement|
|Psychiatric Damages (Generally) - Severe (A)||The injured party could experience problems across all parts of their life.||£54,830 to £115,730|
|Psychiatric Damages (Generally) - Moderately Severe (B)||The injured party could be left facing problems with various parts of their life, though they have a better prognosis.||£19,070 to £54,830|
|Psychiatric Damages (Generally) - Moderate (C)||The injured party could have been left facing issues across all parts of their life. This persons’ condition has improved.||£5,860 to £19,070|
|Psychiatric Damages (Generally) - Less Severe (D)||The injured party may have found sleep patterns disterbed as well as other factors.||£1,540 to £5,860|
|PTSD - Severe (A)||Injured parties could suffer permanent effects which have prevented this person living as they did before the trauma.||£59,860 to £100,670|
|PTSD - Moderately Severe (B)||There is some scope for the injured party to recover to some degree if they get appropriate professional help.||£23,150 to £59,860|
|PTSD - Moderate (C)||The injured party should have mostly recovered.||£8,180 to £23,150|
|PTSD - Less Severe (D)||Injured parties will almost fully make a recovery.||£3,950 to £8,180|
Because every data breach claim is different, you may receive more or less than what is included in the table. So please call us today, and an advisor can value your data breach compensation claim.
You may be eligible to claim compensation if you have experienced a clinical records data breach. To claim compensation, you will need to provide evidence to prove the following:
- Firstly a clinic breached your data because they failed to take adequate steps to protect your data or follow existing laws.
- Secondly, your personal data was breached
- And you experienced emotional distress or mental health problems because of the data breach. Or you suffered financially.
Why not call our advisors and have your claim assessed for free? After this initial assessment, if your claim shows solid grounds, we can connect you with a No Win No Fee data breach solicitor from our panel.
When working with a No Win No Fee solicitor, you will often be asked to sign a Conditional Fee Agreement CFA. When working with a No Win No Fee solicitor, you will benefit from:
- No upfront fee
- A success fee is payable if you are awarded compensation
- This success fee is capped by law
- If you do not win, no success fee to pay.
Please contact us today to see if you can start a healthcare data breach claim.
Data Breach Resources
This information may be helpful if you wish to make a data breach claim.
Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2022 – the results from the government’s annual data security survey.
Guidance For Families About Cybercrime – a guide from the National Cyber Security Centre
An ICO Guide on your right to access information a public body holds about you.
Thank you for reading our guide; we hope it has helped you if a clinic breached your data protection.