By Cat Stardew. Last Updated 5th July 2023. If you’ve been impacted by a social services data breach, you may understandably feel distressed and concerned.
In some situations, it’s possible to claim compensation for the harm caused by a breach of data protection.
In this guide, we discuss social service data breaches in more detail. We look at the criteria for making a claim, what evidence you need and the potential GDPR breach compensation amounts that could be awarded in your case.
If you need help pursuing a data breach claim, Legal Helpline is here to help. As well as the advice in this guide, we operate a 24-hour helpline that you can call to discuss your case with us.
If we can see that you could be entitled to compensation, we can connect you with a data breach solicitor from our panel who’ll get to work right away.
You can either fill out our details on our contact us page to receive a phone call from one of our team members
Or you can ring us directly on 0161 696 9685
Select A Section
- What Is Social Services Data Breach?
- How The GDPR Affects The Sharing Of Data With Third Parties?
- Examples Of GDPR Breach Compensation Amounts
- Should I Report Social Services To The Information Commissioners’ Office (ICO)?
- Claiming For A Social Services Data Breach On A No Win No Fee Basis
- How To Get Help From A Data Breach Solicitor
- Starting A Claim For A Data Breach By Social Services
- Make A Claim
- Where Do I Learn More?
So, what is a social services data breach exactly?
A data breach is a term for any situation in which a third party has illegally gained access to, or has potentially had access to, people’s personal data. It could also refer to situations in which data and information that should have been retained are destroyed or lost. This could be the result of a deliberate act or an accidental one.
If you have had data shared or lost as a result of a data breach by social services then you could be entitled to claim compensation, so long as you can prove the breach and the consequential damage.
The GDPR stands for General Data Protection Regulation. It is a legally binding set of principles that applies to all countries that handle data relating to EU citizens. The UK has introduced the rules set out in the GDPR in its own laws in the form of the Data Protection Act 2018.
GDPR and the Data Protection Act are the laws that set out the rules that organisations have to follow when collecting, storing, and processing people’s personal data and how they are allowed to use that data.
The key legally binding principles laid out under the GDPR are as follows:
- The means by which the data is collected must be transparent, fair, and lawful
- The data can only be used for the purposes stated when the data was requested
- Only the type of data that is needed for the stated purposes may be collected
- The data must be accurate and updated where necessary
- The data must be safely deleted or disposed of once its stated purpose has been served
- The data must be kept securely where it cannot be accessed or shared with another party, whether it is stored on paper documentation or digital formats
- The onus is on the organisation storing and collecting data to show proof that they have taken measures to meet these standards.
Let’s take a look at some examples of GDPR breach compensation amounts, specifically related to a social services data breach.
When it comes to the amount of compensation you could be entitled to claim for mental damage, it depends on what kind of impact the data breach has had on you. For compensation for the effects of a data breach on your health, this will mostly come down to the question of how severely your mental health has been affected by the incident.
Having your personal data breached can cause you great anxiety as you worry about the potential consequences. Having personal sensitive information that should have been kept secure and private is the technological equivalent to having your home burgled and is a huge failure of your trust.
Social services in particular may often hold on to sensitive personal information and it can cause great distress when this information is put at risk of being accessed or widely shared.
Following the ruling in the case Vidal-Hall and others v Google Inc , there has been a legal precedent to award financial compensation to cover the damages done to a data breach victim’s mental health even when no other direct consequences can be found to have stemmed from the data breach.
The table below is a compensation calculator; it displays the amounts of compensation that can be awarded for different kinds of mental health damage. While these figures are not exact and they do not cover compensation for other types of harm done, which we will address in the next section, it should help give you some idea of what amounts of compensation can be awarded in a claim like this.
These figures come from the guidelines of the Judicial College, a document referred to by lawyers when valuing claims.
|Severe psychiatric damage||£51,460 to £108,620|
|Moderately severe psychiatric damage||£17,900 to £51,460|
|Less severe||Up to £5,500|
|Less severe PTSD||£56,180 to £94,470|
|Moderately severe PTSD||£21,730 to £56,180|
|Moderate PTSD||£7,680 to £21,730|
|Less severe PTSD||Up to £7,680|
For a more precise estimate of your potential compensation award, please get in touch with our team.
One optional course of action that you can pursue if you believe that you have been the victim of a data breach by social services is to make a report to the Information Commissioner’s Office.
The ICO is the independent regulatory authority for data protection in the UK. If you register a complaint about the breach of your data by social services with the ICO they can investigate the issue and issue a fine to the authorities in question where appropriate.
If you choose to make an ICO complaint it is best that you do it within three months of your last contact with social services as the ICO may not choose to follow up a report of an issue that is made after this point.
Making an ICO complaint is not necessary if you wish to make a compensation claim. Once you have become aware of a data breach you could have the right to make a compensation claim. It may also be worth reporting the issue to the ICO if you are not satisfied with the organisation’s response. Here is a page with information on how to make an ICO complaint.
What Is The Time Limit For Data Breach Claims?
If you have suffered harm due to a social services data breach and wish to make a claim, you must start proceedings within the data breach claims time limit.
Generally, you will have six years to begin a personal data breach claim. However, if you intend to make your claim against a public body, such as a local council, then this limit will fall to one year.
To find out if you are within the correct time limit to make a personal data breach claim, contact our team of advisors today. They can offer a free consultation, through which they can evaluate your claim and answer any questions you may have. If they find your claim to be valid, then they may connect you with a solicitor from our expert panel.
One issue that could be off-putting to someone who may wish to make a data breach compensation claim is the question of how they will afford to make a claim. Taking legal action usually entails legal costs, such as the fees needed to hire a lawyer. Some people may not have the money to hire a lawyer. Having to invest legal fees into taking on a lawyer could make some people feel that they are taking a gamble by starting a claim.
There is a solution to this problem – making a No Win No Fee claim.
A No Win No Fee claim is a type of legal action where you sign an agreement with your lawyer. Under this agreement, your lawyer will not expect you to pay them any fees before starting the claim. They also won’t charge you legal fees for making the claim if the outcome is not successful. This way you don’t have to worry about any financial side effects of making a claim unsuccessfully.
If you succeed in claiming compensation for a social services data breach, your lawyer will be paid by receiving a small portion of the compensation that is awarded to you. This fee is capped at a low level and is used to cover your lawyer’s costs.
If this option sounds inviting, then why not contact us and talk with us about starting a claim with one of the No Win No Fee solicitors on our panel.
A data breach solicitor is important for you to have. They will have the qualifications, expertise, and experience needed to navigate the legal system and data protection law. They will put together your case and its evidence and.
If you work with our panel of solicitors then you can make a No Win No Fee claim which, as we pointed out earlier, can make the process much easier and safer. Our panel of data protection lawyers can also cover your cases remotely, meaning you don’t have to worry about whether or not your solicitor is based locally to you.
The first step you should take when you become aware of a data breach is to contact the organisation responsible for handling your data. You may find that they are able to offer a suitable reply, possibly with an apology and a settlement. If this satisfies you then that can be the end of the issue.
If, however, they do not offer a proper resolution to the matter, you can bring a complaint to the ICO. If the ICO also fails to provide a satisfactory response or if you do not wish to go through the ICO process, then you can contact us.
Our team can offer you a consultation on your situation. Our friendly legal experts will provide you with free advice about your situation and about whether or not you could be entitled to start a claim. If you do have grounds to make a claim then we can then put you in touch with one of our panel’s No Win No Fee data protection solicitors.
Do I Need Evidence To Claim?
If you want to claim compensation for a social services data breach, you will need to collect evidence that you were harmed due to positive wrongful conduct. You should collect evidence of:
- The breach you suffered
- Any financial losses you suffered due to the breach
- The mental impact the breach may have had on you
These types of evidence can be presented in many forms. You could present:
- Your bank statements
- Your payslips
- Any correspondence you have with the organisation
- Investigation reports from the ICO
- A psychological assessment of your injury
- Personal statement of how the breach may have affected you
Our advisers could be able to speak with you directly about the evidence you could collect to support your claim. They could also give you insight into how professionals calculate a data breach compensation amount in UK claims, a topic we look at further in the following section.
If you wish to reach our advisors there are three methods you could use.
- You could call 0161 696 9685
- You could begin email correspondence with our advisors on this page
- Or chat with us now using our live chat service
Here are some links to other pages on our website about data breach claims that might be useful to you.
- Medical information data breach claims
- What are my rights in the event of an employer data breach?
- Bank data breach claims
- Enforcement action taken by the ICO
- Learn more about the ICO
If you need any more help or advice on what to do after a social services data breach, please contact us.