Watford Community Housing GDPR Data Breach Compensation Claims Guide – How To Claim?

Whether you’re a tenant or employee of Watford Community Housing, the likelihood is they have collected some of your personal data. They may have done so to provide you with housing, or to fulfil your employment contract, for example. There is data protection legislation in place that obligates any organisation that collects and processes personal information to protect it. If you can prove that you’ve suffered mental or financial damage because of a Watford Community Housing tenants data breach, or they’ve breached your data as an employee, you could seek legal advice on data protection breach claims against Watford Community Housing. We have created this guide to help you.

Watford Community Housing data breach compensation claims guide

Watford Community Housing data breach compensation claims guide

In the below sections, we give you an overview of the data protection legislation that Watford Community Housing must adhere to when it comes to your personal data.

We also explain the different types of housing association data breaches that could occur, from a cyber-attack involving phishing, ransomware, spyware or DDoS, to employee error and negligence.

In addition, we talk you through the claims process, explaining how a data breach lawyer could help you, and how we could help you get started with a claim. For free, no-obligation advice and eligibility checks, you can call our expert team on 0161 696 9685.

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A Guide On Data Protection Breach Claims Against Watford Community Housing

Have you been affected by a housing association data breach as an employee or a tenant? If so, you may be worried about how criminals could exploit your personal data if it has fallen into the wrong hands.

You may have been affected financially if someone has used breached data to access your bank accounts or made purchases in your name. You could even become the victim of identity theft.

Data protection breach claims against Watford Community Housing may not completely erase what has happened to you, but compensation could help you move forward after such an event. We have created this detailed guide to explain what such claims involve, and how we could help you.

There are several pieces of legislation that protect the personal data of individuals. One of the most important laws when it comes to data security and privacy is the Data Protection Act 2018. This Act enshrines into UK law the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which is the world’s strictest data security and privacy law.

Under such laws, victims of a data breach could have a right to compensation for material and non-material damages, which could include distress. We explain further about the types of compensation you could claim in the sections below, as well as describing how we could help you find a data breach solicitor to help you with your claim.

Are There Time Limits To Claim For A Watford Housing Data Breach?

Whether you’ve been affected by the data breach by Watford Community Housing described below, or in another data incident, there are some limitations on how long you’d have to claim.

Some claims for data breaches have a 6 year limitation period, which runs from the date you obtained knowledge of the breach, while those that involve a breach of human rights have just a 1 year limitation period.

If you’re concerned about making a claim and have concerns about how to pay a data breach solicitor to help you, we can help here too. We could connect you with a No Win No Fee solicitor, which means you wouldn’t pay legal fees until your claim ended.

To learn more, get in touch with our team on the number at the top of this page.

What Are Data Protection Breach Claims Against Watford Community Housing?

In 2020, during the coronavirus outbreak, Watford Community Housing breached the personal data of 3,545 tenants. We explain more about this breach of data protection in a later section of this guide, but it’s a clear indication that even in local authorities, data breaches can happen. But what is a data breach, and how could it happen?

What Is A Data Breach?

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) states that a personal data breach is a security incident that leads to personal information being:

  • Stolen
  • Made unavailable
  • Lost
  • Unlawfully altered, disclosed, transmitted, processed, stored, accessed or deleted

Incidents That Could Lead To Data Protection Breach Claims Against Watford Community Housing

There are various ways in which housing associations could breach your personal data, such as:

  • A hack – if a hacker exploits vulnerabilities in the association’s cybersecurity software, such as a firewall or cloud database, they could gain access to your personal data.
  • A cyber attack – a cybercriminal could use ransomware, malware, spyware or a virus to breach your personal data.
  • Employee error – An employee of the housing association could accidentally send your personal data to the wrong person. They could also fail to secure your personal data held in filing cabinets, for example.
  • Negligence – if the housing association fails to protect personal data in the correct manner, for instance by failing to secure computer systems or failing to train staff in data protection protocol, this could lead to a data breach.

Data protection breach claims against Watford Community Housing could be justified if you’ve suffered emotional and financial damage because of the breach, though evidence of the breach and harm suffered will be required. If you’d like us to check whether you’d be eligible for compensation, we’d be happy to do this for free.

Third-Party Data Sharing Rules Under The GDPR

Sometimes, Watford Housing Association may need to share your information with third parties. For example, they may need to share your information with maintenance companies who could perform repairs on your residence.

They should not share your personal data without consent, under GDPR, unless they have a valid reason for doing so. These valid reasons are:

  • Vital interests
  • Public tasks
  • Legitimate interests
  • Legal obligations
  • Contract fulfilment

If the housing association does not gain your consent for data sharing, and they don’t have a valid reason to share your data without your consent, this could be a data breach. Under Sections 168 and 169 of the Data Protection Act, you could claim compensation for non-material (financial) and material harm (distress, anxiety and the like) that results from this.

The Watford Community Housing Data Breach Incident

We mentioned earlier in this guide that during the coronavirus outbreak, Watford Community Housing had a data breach, which affected 3,345 tenants. The breach was the result of human error. Attached to an email sent to all tenants was a spreadsheet containing personal details of its tenants.

The personal data that was breached included tenants’ names, email address, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation and other sensitive data. Watford Community Housing reported the data breach to the ICO, as well as the Social Housing Regulator.

If you’ve been impacted financially or mentally by this breach, or any other, we’d be happy to assess your case to see if you could claim.

Source: https://www.watfordobserver.co.uk/news/18611804.watford-community-housing-tenants-can-claim-15k-information-leak/

Housing Association Data Protection Breach Compensation Calculator

If Watford Community Housing has breached your personal data, solicitors and courts would need to assess the potential impact and analyse all the evidence to work out what compensation you could be eligible for.

You might be surprised to learn that you could claim for any psychiatric/psychological harm you’d experienced due to a breach. The reason this could be a possibility is that in the case of Vidal-Hall and others v Google Inc [2015], the Court of Appeal held that it’s possible to seek compensation for mental as well as financial damage stemming from a data breach.

Before this case, financial damage was required in order to claim for any mental harm. Therefore, you could claim for depression, distress, stress and anxiety you experience due to a data breach.

How Much Could I Be Eligible To Claim?

To claim for psychological injuries, you would need medical evidence. During your claim, you’d need to see an independent medic, who would assess your injuries and provide a medical report.

The report would include their professional opinion of your injuries and your prognosis. Courts and lawyers would use this to prove the impact of the data breach. And in combination with a publication called the Judicial College Guidelines, they would use it to arrive at an appropriate value for your data breach claim.

To illustrate how much compensation could be appropriate for such injuries, we’ve created the table below. The figures in the table come from the Judicial College Guidelines.

Injury/ConditionHow Severe?Guideline Compensation Bracket
Post-traumatic stress disorders/PTSDSevere£56,180 to £94,470
Post-traumatic stress disorders/PTSDModerately severe£21,730 to £56,180
Post-traumatic stress disorders/PTSDModerate£7,680 to £21,730
Post-traumatic stress disorders/PTSDLess severeUp to £7,680
Psychological injury (General)Severe£51,460 to £108,620
Psychological injury (General)Moderately severe£17,900 to £51,460
Psychological injury (General)Moderate£5,500 to £17,900
Psychological injury (General)Less severeUp to £5,500

If you’d like a more precise estimate or if you’d like to know what else can be factored into a data breach claim, please get in touch with our team on the number at the top of this page.

Types Of Data Breach And Compensatory Damages

We explained earlier in this guide that data protection law allows you to claim for both material and non-material damages. But what do these terms encapsulate?

  • Non-material damage – we illustrated the psychological/psychiatric injuries you could claim for above. It may be possible to seek compensation for the impact of these conditions on your life, such as loss of earnings if you had to take time off work.
  • Material damage – includes the financial impact of the data breach. This could include theft, if a cybercriminal has accessed your bank accounts and taken money from them, for example. It could also include any financial impact relating to identity theft or fraud.

If you’re wondering what else could be included within data protection breach claims against Watford Community Housing, we’d be happy to assess your case. We could offer you information, guidance and support on what steps you could take to claim the compensation you deserve.

What Does The Information Commissioner Do?

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is an independent public body. It was set up to uphold data subjects’ privacy rights. If an organisation breaches data protection law, the ICO could investigate the incident and issue enforcement notices.

Does The ICO Enforce GDPR?

The ICO does enforce GDPR, as well as the following laws:

  • Data Protection Act
  • The re-use of Public Sector Information Regulations
  • INSPIRE Regulations
  • Freedom of Information Act
  • Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR)
  • Environmental Information Regulations

What ICO Fines Could An Organisation Face?

If an organisation breaches your personal data and in doing so, breaches GDPR, the ICO could issue a fine up to a maximum of 4% of the organisation’s global annual turnover or £17.5 million, whichever is greater.

Make A Data Protection Breach Claim Against Watford Community Housing With A No Win No Fee Solicitor

When pursuing Watford Community Housing data breach claims, you might prefer to have a solicitor on your side. If so, you might be pleased to learn that there is a way to begin a case without paying a data breach lawyer unless your compensation comes through.

If you work with a data breach solicitor under No Win No Fee terms, you wouldn’t pay them upfront for their services. Instead:

  1. They would send you a Conditional Fee Agreement (the formal name of a No Win No Fee agreement) and ask you to sign it. Under the terms of the agreement, you would only have to pay the legally capped success fee mentioned within the document on the condition that your case was successful. The success fee is calculated as a small percentage of your total settlement.
  2. Once the solicitor receives the signed agreement, they could start to work on your case and negotiate compensation for you.
  3. When the liable party (or their insurer) pays your settlement, the lawyer would deduct their agreed success fee. You would benefit from the balance.

What Happens if Data Protection Breach Claims Against Watford Community Housing Fail?

If a No Win No Fee claim isn’t successful, and you don’t receive compensation, you don’t pay the success fee. You won’t have to pay any of your lawyer’s fees either.

If you’d like to read some frequently asked questions about No Win No Fee claims, you could take a look here at our guide. Or, if you prefer, you could call our advisors. We’d be happy to speak to you.

How A Specialist Data Protection Breach Solicitor Could Help You

Whilst it isn’t a legal requirement for you to work with a data breach solicitor when you make data protection breach claims against Watford Community Housing, many claimants prefer it. There are some benefits that could be enjoyed by those opting for legal support with their case, including:

  • The knowledge that the case would be built properly and would be as strong as possible
  • The lawyer would take on all the negotiations and fight for the maximum compensation possible for you
  • They would support you if your claim needed to go to court, although many claims do not need to
  • You would be claiming for all the damages possible for your case

What Should I Do If I Think I Was Affected By A Data Breach?

If you can prove that you have been impacted by a Watford Community Housing data breach, you could report your concerns to them and ask them to investigate and respond. You could even, if the answer you get back isn’t satisfactory, report the breach to the ICO.

However, you may be ready to make data protection breach claims against Watford Community Housing right away. If so, you may be looking for a data breach solicitor to take on the legal legwork involved.

Finding A Solicitor To Help With Data Protection Breach Claims Against Watford Community Housing

There are lots of law firms and data breach lawyers out there. So, how do you work out what could be the most appropriate choice? There are several ways you could look for a lawyer to represent you. You could:

  • Search online, shortlist a few and then call them
  • Listen to friends and family’s recommendations
  • View reviews on independent websites
  • Or, you could call us.

Here at Legal Helpline, we have years of experience helping claimants get started on their journeys to compensation. Our expert advisors are adept at asking the right questions to work out whether you could be eligible to claim, and we offer this service for free.

If we believe your claim could bring you compensation, we could connect you with a data breach solicitor from our specialist panel who could help. To learn more, get in touch using the various methods you’ll find in the section below.

Submit Your Data Breach Claim

If you’re looking for more information on data breach claims against Watford Community Housing, we’d be happy to help you. We could answer any questions you might have about data breach claims and could assess your eligibility for free.

We could also connect you with a No Win No Fee data breach lawyer from our panel. They could take on your case and fight for compensation on your behalf. All you need to do to access our services are:

Housing Association Data Breach Claims FAQs

In this penultimate section, we’ve included the answers to some commonly asked questions about data breach claims involving housing associations.

What Is Considered A Data Breach?

The ICO considers a data breach to be a security incident that causes data to be unlawfully:

  • Stolen
  • Accessed, processed, transmitted, disclosed, altered or deleted without authorisation
  • Made unavailable
  • Lost

What Are The Consequences Of A Data Breach?

A data breach could have a variety of consequences for both organisations and individuals who become victims of a data breach. They could include:

  • For Organisations – They could lose the trust of those using their services as well as their employees. In addition, they could face an investigation by the Information Commissioner’s Office. This could lead to them being liable to pay compensation to victims, as well as fines from the ICO.
  • For Individuals – If personal data is breached, it could cause financial harm via identity theft, fraud or the unauthorised access of financial accounts. It could also cause a victim to suffer reputational damage, loss of privacy, and emotional distress.

How Long Do I Have To Claim For A Data Breach?

Generally, the time limit for data breach claims is 6 years from the date you became aware of the incident. However, if there is a breach of your human rights, you may only have a year to claim.

What Happens After A Data Breach?

If an organisation becomes aware that they have breached someone’s personal data, they should let that person know. If the breach risks the rights or freedoms of people, they should report the breach to the ICO within 72 hours.

Should a breach not risk the freedoms and rights of data subjects, the organisation doesn’t have to make a data breach report to the ICO. However, they must keep records of such breaches within the organisation.

Data Breach Tools And Resources

In our final section of this guide to housing association data breach claims, we’ve included some extra resources you may find useful.

NCSC Advice On Protecting Personal Data – This could be a useful resource for those who wish to know how to protect their devices and data.

Is It Anxiety? – If you believe you may be suffering from anxiety, this NHS guide could be useful to you.

Identity Theft – Action Fraud has produced an explanation of how identity theft could happen and what you could do about it.

Blackbaud Data Breach Claims – This guide explains the Blackbaud data breach in detail, and gives potential claimants guidance on what action they could take.

A Bank Breached My Data – If you’re the victim of a bank data breach, this guide contains lots of useful information to help you.

Post Office Data Breach Claims – If it is the Post Office that has breached your data, this guide could be helpful.

GDPR Data Breach Compensation Claims – our general guide to seeking compensation for a data breach.

Thank you for reading our guide to data protection breach claims against Watford Community Housing.

Guide by JJ

Edited by REB