Have you suffered anxiety due to a data breach? Did an organisation holding your personal data fail to comply with data protection law? If so, you may be wondering if you could claim compensation.
The Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA) and the UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR) are the two key pieces of legislation that outline data rights for the public. These laws are enforced by an independent body called the Information Commissioners Office (ICO).
In this article, we aim to explain who could be eligible to claim compensation under the UK GDPR. We also discuss how a solicitor from our panel could help you.
Our team are on hand to discuss any issues you may have after a data security incident left you with anxiety or other mental health problems. To get in touch:
Select A Section
- What Are Breaches Of Data Protection?
- What Is Anxiety Due To A Data Breach?
- How A Data Breach Affects A Person’s Life
- How To Claim For Anxiety Due To A Data Breach
- What Is The Average Settlement For A Mental Health Injury?
- Can You Use No Win No Fee Agreements To Claim For Anxiety Due To A Data Breach?
Personal data is any information that could identify you. For example, this could be your full name, your postal address, or your email address. If a security incident compromises the integrity, availability, or confidentiality of this data, then this is a personal data breach.
Under data protection law, data controllers and processors have to take adequate steps to protect the personal data of UK residents. A data controller decides why and how they handle your personal data. Likewise, data processors process this data on the controller’s instruction.
What Causes A Data Breach?
- Verbally disclose personal data from your medical records to an unauthorised party
- Leave a device that contains personal data, like a laptop or a smartphone, in an unsafe location, leading to theft or loss
- Fail to use the blind carbon copy (BCC) in a batch email, exposing your email address to others
However, not every personal data breach can become a valid claim. This is because the UK GDPR sets out the criteria your claim must meet in order to be eligible. According to this legislation, you must suffer harm as a result of your personal data being compromised following the data controller or processor’s wrongful conduct.
Anxiety is a mental health disorder. According to the NHS, anxiety can cause a feeling of fear, worry, or unease. These feelings can range from mild to severe.
The stress of a personal data breach can result in anxiety and various other psychological injuries. Psychological injuries can be any form of significant mental health harm that impacts the well-being of a person. Psychological injuries that you could suffer due to a personal data breach can include:
- Stress and worry
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Serious worries and concerns can create a wide array of psychological issues. If you have suffered anxiety due to a data breach, contact our advisors today.
If you suffer a personal data breach, this can have significant effects on both your psychological and financial well-being.
For example, following a bank data breach that affects your baking details or credit card details are compromised, this could lead to criminals making fraudulent purchases on your cards. This can lead to debt being accrued under your name, leaving you with bills that you cannot pay. It can also lead to significant damage to your credit score.
A data breach can also lead to psychological injuries. For example, a stalker data breach can cause significant anxiety and can lead to further mental health issues, such as depression, PTSD, and distress.
If a personal data breach has impacted you, contact our team of advisors. They can help you determine if you could claim compensation for anxiety due to a data breach.
As someone impacted by anxiety due to a data breach, you could be entitled to launch a claim for compensation. Firstly, you can complain to the organisation that mishandled your data. They may provide more information, for example, what information was impacted or why the breach occurred. But, if they don’t respond, or if their response isn’t satisfactory, then you can complain to the ICO.
It’s important to wait no longer than 3 months after the last meaningful contact with the ICO. The ICO does not award compensation, but they can investigate breaches, and have the power to impose fines on organisations that do not comply with legislation.
To learn more about making a claim for anxiety due to a data breach, get in touch with our team today.
There are two potential heads of claim that you can pursue when you make a personal data breach claim. The first is material damage, which covers the financial effects of the breach. For example, a workplace data breach could include your salary and banking information, which could lead to identity theft. Or, you may suffer a loss of earnings due to time taken away from work in order to recover from the breach.
Non-material damage is the second head of claim. Under non-material damage, you can claim for the psychological effects of the breach, such as anxiety, depression, or PTSD. Below, you can find some guideline figures for non-material damage payouts taken from the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG).
Because every claim is unique, we cannot provide an average settlement for mental health injuries. However, the JCG provides guideline award brackets to help solicitors value claims. While these figures are not guaranteed, they can help you get an idea of what you could receive.
|Degree of Psychological Injury||JC Guideline Award and Severity||Notes|
|Psychological Injury||(a) Severe - £54,830 to £115,730||The ability to cope with all aspects of life is affected.|
|Psychological Injury||(b) Moderately Severe - £19,070 to £54,830||Symptoms are similar to the case above, but the prognosis is better.|
|Psychological Injury||(c) Moderate - £5,860 to £19,070||Cases where an improvement in symptoms is achieved by the time the case may need to be heard in court.|
|Psychological Injury||(d) Less Severe - £1,540 to £5,860||Consideration is given to the effect symptoms have on daily activities and the length of disturbance.|
|Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)||(a) Severe - £59,860 to £100,670||Permanent impacts prevent the person from working and impact all areas of life.|
|Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)||(b) Moderately Severe- £23,150 to £59,860||Differs from the severity above after professional counselling.|
|Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)||(c) Moderate - £8,180 to £23,150||Recovery on the whole with any remaining issues being non-disabling.|
|Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)||(d) Less Severe - 3,950 to £8,180||Full recovery within 12 - 24 months and any issues persisting beyond this being minor.|
For a free evaluation of your claim, get in touch with our team of advisors today.
Our panel of No Win No Fee solicitors offer expert legal representation through a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). When you hire a solicitor under a CFA, you generally will not have to pay them any fees at the start of your claim or as it progresses. Your solicitor will take a percentage of your compensation as their success fee only if your claim is successful. Otherwise, you do not pay this fee.
If you would like to find out how a solicitor from our panel could help you, get in touch with our team today by:
Anxiety Due To A Data Breach Resources
For more resources:
Or, for more helpful articles, you may be interested in:
- How do I report a data protection breach?
- Rent statement data breach
- Disciplinary information data breach claims
For more information on making a claim for anxiety due to a data breach, get in touch today.
Written by JW
Edited by CH