This guide discusses whether you may be able to claim university email data breach compensation. Organisations must adhere to data protection legislation to ensure that your personal data is protected. If organisations do not follow these data protection laws, your personal data could be breached, which can affect you financially and/or emotionally. In this guide, we tell you what these laws are in more detail, the parties that need to adhere to them, and how a university email data breach could happen if they are not upheld.
We also discuss how to prove that your personal data has been breached and the emotional and/or financial impact you have suffered as a result. Furthermore, we look at how data breach compensation is calculated in successful claims and how it aims to address the different types of damage you have experienced.
Finally, we explore how a No Win No Fee solicitor could assist you with your case and the terms under which they could do so.
If you have any other questions about data breach compensation claims, please contact our team. They can offer free advice 24/7. To reach them, you can:
Jump To A Section
- When Could I Claim University Email Data Breach Compensation?
- Types Of Data Held By Universities
- How To Prove A Data Breach Compensation Claim
- How Much Compensation Could I Get For An Email Data Breach?
- Could A No Win No Fee Solicitor Help With University Email Data Breach Compensation Claims?
- Learn More About Data Breach Claims
The laws that are put in place to protect a person’s personal data are the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA 2018) and the UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR). Data controllers and data processors must adhere to these laws to ensure the safety of your personal data when storing, handling, and processing. Personal data is information that can be used to identify you.
Data controllers, often an organisation, such as a university, are responsible for deciding how and why your personal data is processed. Sometimes, they will process your information themselves. Alternatively, they can outsource this task to a data processor who acts on behalf of the controller. In this case, the university in question will be the data controller, and either they or a third party will operate the university’s email system.
If the controller or processor fails to adhere to the DPA and UK GDPR, this is known as wrongful conduct. In some cases, this wrongful conduct could lead to a personal data breach. Under Article 4 of the UK GDPR, a personal data breach is defined as a breach of security that leads to the unlawful or accidental loss, alteration, or destruction of your personal data, as well as unauthorised access to, or disclosure of personal data.
Article 82 of the UK GDPR also sets out the criteria that need to be met and proven for you to have an eligible data breach claim:
- Either the data controller or data processor failed to uphold their obligations as set out in data protection laws.
- Due to this wrongful conduct, a breach compromising your personal data occurred.
- As a result of the breach, you have been affected financially and/or emotionally.
In general, data breach claims need to begin within 6 years. However, this time limit may be reduced to 1 year if you are claiming against a public body.
Call our team for further guidance on the eligibility criteria for claiming university email data breach compensation and how long you have to do so.
Both students and staff of a university could be affected by a university email data breach. As mentioned, personal data is any form of information that can be independently used (or used with other data) to identify who you are. This could include your contact information, credit card and debit card information, or your National Insurance number, for example. Certain types of personal data need extra protection because they are more sensitive. One example is special category data which can include biometric data and data concerning your health, such as medical information from your health records.
Universities could potentially hold the following types of personal data:
- Usernames and passwords.
- Mobile number.
- Home address.
- Date of birth.
- Email address.
- Health information, such as about a disability.
Examples Of University Email Data Breaches
There are several ways a university email data breach could happen due to either a cyber security or human error incident.
For example, the Blind Carbon Copy (BCC) function isn’t used when sending a mass email. Usually, this function allows for an email to be sent to multiple recipients without their email addresses being visible to others. If the BCC function is not used in error, then an email address could be exposed.
Another example is an email containing sensitive data, such as regarding a health condition, being sent to the wrong person despite the university having your correct email address.
In both of these instances, you could be caused stress and anxiety due to your personal data being breached. You might also be unable to work due to the mental impact of the breach causing you to incur a loss of income.
To discuss your specific case and find out whether you’re eligible to begin a claim for university email data breach compensation, please get in touch using the number above.
You can gather evidence to show your personal data was compromised due to the failings of a controller or processor and that this affected you financially, emotionally, or both. Examples of the proof you could collect include:
- A letter of notification from the data controller, informing you that a breach has occurred and what personal data was affected. Data controllers are responsible for notifying you without undue delay if a breach has put your rights and freedoms at risk.
- Alternative correspondence between you and the data controller discussing the breach, such as emails.
- Proof of any financial losses due to the breach, such as showing payslips that highlight any lost income incurred due to needing time off work to cope with the emotional effects of your breached personal data.
- Findings from an Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) investigation. The ICO is an independent body in the UK that is set up to uphold information rights. If you have contacted the organisation regarding a breach of your personal data, you can report report a data protection breach to the ICO. They may choose to investigate and if they do, any findings from this investigation can be used to help strengthen your case.
- Proof of any emotional effects due to the breach. This could include medical reports from your GP.
Part of our panel of solicitors’ services involves helping eligible claimants collect evidence and build a strong case. If you contact our team today, they can assess your case to determine whether you have valid grounds to pursue university email data breach compensation. If you do, they could connect you to an expert solicitor from our panel to represent you. Call the number above to learn more.
If you are successful, you can claim university email data breach compensation to address up to two types of damage caused by a breach of personal data. These are material damage (financial losses) and non-material damage (emotional harm). You can receive compensation for non-material damage without needing to have suffered material damage.
Your medical records and guideline compensation brackets listed in the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG) can be referred to when compensation for non-material damage is being calculated. Alongside the figures in the JCG is a list of different types of harm, including psychological damage. We have included an excerpt of these below.
Please use the table as a guide only. Also, note that the first entry is not from the JCG.
|Guideline Compensation Brackets
|Serious impacts to mental health along with substantial financial losses
|Up to £150,000+
|The person's mental health is seriously impacted and they receive a negative prognosis which also causes significant financial losses, like lost wages.
|£54,830 to £115,730
|A poor prognosis and marked problems affecting different areas of life, including the impact on relationships and coping with work.
|Moderately severe (b)
|£19,070 to £54,830
|There are still significant problems with different areas of person's life but the prognosis is more optimistic.
|£5,860 to £19,070
|There will have been issues affecting several areas of the person's life but there is a significant improvement and a good prognosis. problems with the
|Less severe (d)
|£1,540 to £5,860
|The award depends on the length of time daily activities are affected and to what extent.
|Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
|£59,860 to £100,670
|Permanent effects preventing the injured person from working or functioning at a pre-trauma level. All areas of life are badly affected.
|Moderately severe (b)
|£23,150 to £59,860
|There will be professional help leading to some recovery and a better prognosis. However, the effects will still be significantly disabling for the foreseeable future.
|£8,180 to £23,150
|The continuing effects on the person's life are not grossly disabling since they will have largely recovered.
|Less severe (d)
|£3,950 to £8,180
|Between 1-2 years, a virtually full recovery will be made.
Material Damage Compensation
You also do not need to have suffered non-material damage to receive compensation for the material damage that your data breach has caused. A type of financial loss you may have incurred due to your university email data breach is a loss of earnings if stress leads to you having time off work.
You will need evidence of the financial losses incurred. As such, keep hold of documentation such as payslips.
Please contact us to receive more information about how the value of a data breach claim is calculated.
If you are eligible to claim for university email data breach compensation, you could be connected to an expert data breach solicitor from our panel. They provide their services and work on your claim under No Win No Fee terms by offering a type of contract known as a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA).
If you are represented by a solicitor under the terms of a CFA, you typically do not pay any fees upfront or ongoing charges for your solicitor’s work throughout the data breach claims process. You will also not be charged for your solicitor’s work if your claim is not successful.
Instead, your solicitor will deduct a success fee from your compensation if your claim is successful. The success fee is a small percentage of your compensation. However, the percentage that can be taken is capped by the law ensuring you keep the majority of your settlement.
Talk To Our Expert Solicitors
For further guidance on claiming university email data breach compensation, please get in touch with an advisor from our team. They can assess your particular circumstances and answer any questions you have about data breach claims. To get in touch, you can:
For more helpful guides:
- Find out what to do after a data protection breach at work compromised your personal data and caused you harm.
- Learn what information is protected by the GDPR and whether you could claim if your personal data is breached.
- Read about bank data breach compensation claims and what steps you could take.
Other external links:
- NHS – Find support and information about mental health.
- ICO – A guide on how to report a breach.
- GOV.UK – Guidance on cyber security and understanding the risks.
Thank you for reading our guide about claiming university email data breach compensation. If you have any other questions, use the number above to reach out to our team.