Medical Test Results Data Breach – How Much Could I Claim?
This guide will explain your options if a medical test results data breach has harmed you. A data breach involving your medical personal data can cause emotional distress or mental health injuries. Likewise, you may have experienced financial losses after a data breach of this nature.
You may be able to claim compensation for a data breach if it was caused by the wrongful conduct of the party processing the data. They must have breached the laws that are in place to protect your personal data, allowing a breach to occur.
Please contact us today to speak to a claims consultant. if you have a valid case, we can assign our panel of data protection solicitors to work on your claim. The panel can handle your case on a No Win No Fee basis; we’ll look at what this means below.
Please get in touch with us today to see if you are eligible to claim:
- Call our helpline on 020 3870 4868
- You can fill out our online claims form
- Alternatively, please chat with an advisor now. Just enter your question into our Live Support widget.
Select A Section
- What Is A Breach Of Medical Test Results Data?
- Why Does A Medical Test Results Data Breach Happen?
- What Impact Could A Medical Test Results Data Breach Have On You?
- How Can The Healthcare Sector Prevent Data Breaches?
- What Could You Claim For A Medical Test Results Data Breach?
- Find Out More About No Win No Fee Claims
Sometimes when we show symptoms of an illness, our doctors will carry out a medical test to diagnose or rule out a condition. Examples of medical tests include a blood test, an X-ray, or an MRI scan. The medical practitioner that carries out your medical test will record the results. These results will then be stored on your medical records.
The Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA) and the UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR) are the pieces of legislation that outline how personal data should be protected. The DPA was updated after the UK left the European Union.
A data breach is a security incident that impacts the integrity or confidentiality of personal data, or how available it is. Personal data is any information that is stored physically or digitally and that can be used to identify you alone or combined with other information.
How Common Are Medical Data Breaches?
Healthcare sector data breaches must be reported to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) in some cases. According to their records of data security incident trends, in the fourth quarter of 2021/22, the healthcare sector saw:
- 71 instances of data being posted or faxed to the wrong recipient
- 57 instances of data being emailed to the wrong recipient
- 45 instances of the loss or theft of paperwork or of data being left in an unsecured location
A medical test results data breach can happen because of human error, which means that a healthcare professional or administrator makes a mistake which leads to a data breach. However, sometimes, a person intentionally causes a data breach for malicious reasons or financial gain.
Either way, a medical information data breach can harm the data subject. Data subject refers to the individual that can be identified by the personal data in question.
Below are some examples of what can cause a medical data breach:
- A hospital sends medical test results to the wrong patient’s postal address, despite having the right one on file. As a result, another patient without authorisation to view these records receives them.
- A GP surgery sends medical test results to the wrong recipient by email.
- A loss of test results could happen if an employee loses an unencrypted electronic device containing medical files that include personal data.
- Hackers could carry out a cyber-attack and steal private medical test results because the online security systems were not kept up to date.
- A member of staff accesses patient files which they do not have the authorisation to view because they know one of the patients who have been tested and are curious about the results.
For more information on how a medical test results data breach could occur, speak with an advisor.
Under the UK GDPR, health data is considered special category data. This is because it can be more sensitive than other forms of personal data, meaning it requires more protection.
A data breach that exposes test result information may be upsetting. For example, information about a patient with a sexually transmitted infection could be exposed in a breach. Consequently, you may suffer emotional distress or acute stress due to the data breach.
An NHS or private healthcare provider data breach can also lead to financial losses. For example, if hackers steal data from a hospital, they may use personal data to target the patients for blackmail. Consequently, the patient could lose money or assets to the parties responsible for the breach.
To help prevent data breaches in the healthcare sector, medical organisations may invest in the following security measures:
- Invest in password management software, to keep employees’ passwords secure.
- Implement privilege controls to minimise the number of employees who can access data that they are not authorised to view.
- Address lack of knowledge with data management training.
- Encourage a positive culture where employees feel empowered to make decisions and ask questions if they feel unsure.
The ICO has further information on minimising the likeliness of a data breach. If you have any more questions about making a claim if a medical test results data breach has caused you harm, speak with an advisor today.
After a medical test results data breach, you may be eligible to claim compensation. If you win your claim, your compensation payout can include up to two heads of claim:
- Compensation for material damage: relating to unavoidable expenses and financial losses caused by the data breach.
- Compensation for non-material damages: relating to emotional distress or psychiatric injuries caused by a medical data breach.
Instead of a compensation calculator, we’ve included the table below which contains guideline brackets for a range of injuries. The compensation brackets in the table reflect those from the 16th edition of the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG). This is a publication that legal professionals use to help them assign values to claims.
The Judicial College updated its compensation guidelines for 2022. But please note the table does not include material damages.
|Psychiatric Effects And Severity||Potential Damages||About The Injury|
|Severe mental injury||£54,830 to £115,730||Overall, there is a very poor outlook for making any recovery. The trauma could have impacted all parts of this person's life.|
|Moderately severe mental injury||£19,070 to £54,830||Whilst there is a permanent level of disability, there is also a more optimistic prognosis than above.|
|Moderate mental injury||£5,860 to £19,070||Those in this bracket either may or will have displayed a marked improvement and prognosis will be positive.|
|Less severe mental injury||£1,540 to £5,860||Amount of compensation reflects length of injury and severity of the effects.|
|Severe anxiety disorder (trauma)||£59,860 to £100,670||The injury has resulted in a serious and permanent impact on the person. This prevents them from functioning in the way and at the level they did before the trauma.|
|Moderately severe anxiety disorder (trauma)||£23,150 to £59,860||With counselling, there could be a better outlook than with injuries with a greater severity.|
|Moderate anxiety disorder (trauma)||£8,180 to £23,150||A large degree of recovery has already happened. The person should just be left with minor symptoms which persist.|
|Less severe anxiety disorder (trauma)||£3,950 to £8,180||Within 12 - 24 months a full recovery, or a recovery that is virtually complete, should have been made.|
Material damages can relate to the actual financial losses you’ve experienced because of the breach. For example, if your personal data was involved in a breach and someone was able to steal your identity as a result, this could impact your credit score or cause you to have money stolen from your bank account.
In the past, it was the case that you must have suffered financial harm to claim for emotional harm. However, this is no longer the case, and you can claim for each kind of harm individually or both together.
If you receive a settlement you may receive a different amount of compensation than the table suggests. You are welcome to call UK Law today, and we can advise you on how much you could claim.
You can get in touch today for an assessment of your claim, If you have a valid case, we may be able to appoint one of the data protection solicitors from our panel to work on your claim. They may be able to offer you the opportunity to make a claim on a No Win No Fee basis.
When you begin a No Win No Fee claim, you won’t pay a solicitors fee. Instead, you pay a capped success fee from your compensation payout if you win. There is no success fee if you don’t win your claim, and you don’t pay your lawyer for their services.
To enquire about claiming compensation for a medical data breach, please contact us today. You can:
- Call 020 3870 4868 to speak to a claims advisor
- Complete our online claims form
- Use the Live Support widget to ask an advisor a question.
More Advice For Making A Data Breach Claim
If you would like to know more about making a No Win No Fee claim, please read these online resources.
How to deal with spam emails – an ICO guide
How to raise a concern about a data breach – an ICO guide
We are thankful that you have read our guide to making a medical test results data breach claim.