Advice For Claiming For An Accidental Data Breach At Work

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Accidental Data Breach At Work Compensation Claims

By Stephen Hudson. Last Updated 9th January 2024. Can I make accidental data breach at work compensation claims? Successful personal data breach claims will have met certain criteria. Throughout this guide, we will discuss who could be eligible to make a claim if their personal data is breached.

Accidental data breach at work compensation claims guide

Accidental data breach at work compensation claims guide

Please note, though, that your claim is going to be at least partially unique. Some claims are similar, but no two are the same. Therefore, you might not find all of the answers you are seeking in this short guide. If you have more questions, call 0800 073 8804 and speak to an advisor, who will provide the answers. Or request a callback using our contact form.

Select A Section:

  1. What Are Accidental Data Breach At Work Compensation Claims?
  2. Can Staff Claim Compensation For A Breach At Work?
  3. Personal Information Which Employers May Have
  4. Why Do Accidental Data Breaches At Work Occur?
  5. What Could You Claim For An Accidental Data Breach At Work?
  6. No Win No Fee Claims For An Accidental Data Breach At Work

What Are Accidental Data Breach At Work Compensation Claims?

You may be wondering if you can make an accidental data breach at work compensation claims. Maybe your personal data has been sent in an email to the wrong recipient, or a letter containing your personal data has been posted to the wrong address by mistake.

Under data protection law that we will discuss later in the guide, a personal data breach can be an accidental or unlawful loss, destruction of data, alteration or disclosure. Or an authorised person accessing your personal data in a data security incident.

Man Holds A Box With Data Breach Printed On it.

UK Data Protection Laws

Two main bodies of legislation protect your personal data. These are the UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR), and the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA).

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) oversees compliance with these laws. It is also the ICO to which you can report a data breach to.

Can Staff Claim Compensation For A Breach At Work?

To have good grounds to claim for an employer data breach, you must be able to prove that you meet the eligibility criteria set out in Article 82 of the UK GDPR. This means that you need evidence that proves:

  • The data controller or processor’s failure to comply with the legislation in place to protect personal data caused a breach. A data controller is generally an organisation that decides why they need to process your data and how to go about it. Data processing is anything that is done to or with personal data, such as collecting and then storing it, ie for payroll purposes. However, the controller may instruct a data processor to carry out the processing on their behalf.
  • Your personal data was involved in this data breach.
  • This compromise caused you to experience damage. This could be mental health damage, such as the diagnosis of a psychological illness or it could be financial losses, such as a credit card taken out in your name due to identity theft.

Get in touch with a member of our advisory team to discuss whether you could be eligible to make a claim for an accidental data breach at work.

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

There is usually a time limit you must adhere to if you have an eligible personal data breach claim following a data protection breach at work. The amount of time you’ll have to start a claim for an accidental data breach at work will depend on the type of organisation involved. Following a data breach, you’ll normally need to start your claim within one year if it’s against a public body. If you intend to claim against a non-public body, you will usually need to do so within six years instead.

Contact our advisors online or on the phone today if you need more advice regarding your eligibility to claim for a data breach at work. If it seems like you have a strong case, they could connect you with one of our No Win No Fee solicitors who could help ensure your claim is filed within the correct limitation period.

Personal Information Which Employers May Have

Data protection and security laws do not protect all types of data. They protect personal and special category data, which is a type of personal data that needs added protection by its sensitive nature.

  • Personal data – contact details, your name, address, date of birth, email address, or phone number. And financial data such as your credit card, debit card or bank account details.
  • Special category data – your race, genome data, religion, sexual preferences, trade union memberships, political beliefs, etc.

To find out more about accidental data breach at work compensation claims and to have a free case assessment by our data breach claims team, call today.

Why Do Accidental Data Breaches At Work Occur?

Why do accidental data breaches occur? There are many reasons, such as human error. Employees may be unaware of their data protection obligations without proper workplace training.

Below are some examples of how data can be put at risk and result in data breaches


  • Employee contracts are left out in an insecure location
  • The proceedings of a hearing for disciplinary action are discussed with an employee who does not have the authority to know them.
  • Your personal data is emailed to the wrong person, who is not authorised to have it.
  • A lost or stolen device contained your personal data.
  • A misdirected fax, sent to the wrong number, contained your data.

Security Alert On Computer Screen

What Could You Claim For An Accidental Data Breach At Work?

A data breach could result in psychological injuries such as post-traumatic stress disorder, stress and anxiety. Non-material damage look to compensate claimants for any injury to their mental health. Material damage compensates for monetary losses caused by the data breach.

In 2015, the case Vidal-Hall and others v Google Inc was heard at the Court of Appeal. The claimants received non-material damage for mental harm, despite not claiming any monetary losses.

The table below is based on the Judicial College Guidelines that are used by the legal system to value injuries.

Health Problem Severity Additional Information Potential Compensation
Significant Serious Psychological Harm Plus Financial Losses Very Serious Settlements may include compensation for a significant psychological injury that is very serious in nature and financial losses, such as recovery of money taken from a bank account. Up to £250,000+
Psychological injury Severe The sufferer will face a severe negative impact on their work, school, and home lives. The prognosis for recovery is poor. Extensive treatment may be required, and the victim could be vulnerable to future mental health problems. £54,830 to £115,730
Psychological injury Moderately Severe Mental health problems will have caused a significant impact on the home, school or work life of the sufferer. However, the prognosis for recovery is better than in the severe bracket. £19,070 to £54,830
Psychological injury Moderate The sufferer may have had their work, school or home life and ability to function impacted. However, their condition would have improved somewhat, with a good prognosis for recovery. £5,860 to £19,070
Psychological injury Less Severe Compensation received by the sufferer is dependent on a) the length of time they suffered for, and b) how badly sleep patterns and daily life were negatively impacted. £1,540 to £5,860
Stress Syndrome Severe Preventing the sufferer from working, or functioning at the same level as before suffering from PTSD. Every aspect of the sufferer’s life will be impacted negatively. £59,860 to £100,670
Stress Syndrome Moderately Severe The prognosis for recovery is better than severe PTSD, after receiving treatment. However, there is likely to be a significant level of ongoing disability. £23,150 to £59,860
Stress Syndrome Moderate The sufferer will have largely recovered from PTSD. With any ongoing symptoms not causing disability. £8,180 to £23,150
Stress Syndrome Less Severe The sufferer will have almost fully recovered from PTSD within two years. With only minor symptoms persisting. £3,950 to £8,180

No Win No Fee Claims For An Accidental Data Breach At Work

Have you suffered financial loss or mental harm due to your employer breaching your data? Do you think you might have a valid claim?

In many cases, it can be possible to have data breach claims processed by a lawyer working under a No Win No Fee agreement. You won’t be asked to pay an upfront fee. And you won’t need to pay your lawyer a fee if the claim is not a success. A pre-agreed, legally limited success fee will be due to your lawyer if the claim is a success.

Do you have more questions? Would you like to learn more about whether you can make accidental data breach at work compensation claims? Then use the information below to get in touch.

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Related Articles

Here are some useful web pages.

And here are some related guides that we have published that could help with data breach at work claims.

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    • Patrick Mallon

      Patrick is a Grade A solicitor having qualified in 2005. He's an an expert in accident at work and public liability claims and is currently our head of the EL/PL department. Get in touch today for free to see how we can help you.

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