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Bristol County Council Data Breach Compensation Claims Guide – How Much Compensation Can I Claim? – Amounts For Bristol County Council Data Breach

The Local Council Shared My Personal Data, Can I Claim?

This guide explores what could happen after a potential Bristol City Council data breach.

Bristol City Council is the local authority for the city of Bristol, West England. Councils need to hold and process personal data in order to provide us with services. They should take reasonable measures to secure this personal information.

Bristol City Council data breach

If a local authority has breached your personal data privacy, it could be despite their best efforts to keep the data secure. Otherwise, it could be that they failed to keep the personal data appropriately secure.

Whether you are a council employee or a Bristol resident, you could claim if you suffer financial loss or emotional damage due to a personal data breach caused by poor data security.

If you have evidence of a justifiable data breach compensation claim, trust Legal Expert. Our skilled data breach lawyers have decades of experience handling data breach claims.

To see if you could begin your claim, contact us today using the details below:

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A Guide To Bristol City Council Data Breach Claims

All businesses and organisations in the UK have to follow the rules of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) if they process or collect personal data. The GDPR is an EU law that upholds personal data security and data privacy. The GDPR is enacted into the law of the UK via the Data Protection Act 2018.

Local councils should abide by the rules of the GDPR if they use personal information. Therefore, councils should not misuse the personal data that they collect, process and store. Under the GDPR, organisations and local authorites should try to protect the personal data they collect.

Councils could have processes set in place to protect the personal data that they have collected. For example, they may have a data protection policy. In addition, the council could train its employees to manage personal data in a manner that protects it. And what’s more, the council could have an adequate computer security system in place, to protect the personal data.

If a personal data breach occurs because a council hasn’t taken appropriate measures to protect the personal information, it could result in claims due to mental harm or financial loss caused. The data breach claim can be settled out of court where possible.

Legal Expert could help you claim compensation for a data breach. Our solicitors can even handle your claim on a No Win No Fee basis, lowering the financial risk involved in funding a solicitor. To see if you can begin your claim, contact Legal Expert today.

Is There A Time Limit For Claiming Compensation?

There is a time limit for making a data breach claim in the UK

  • The time limit for making a data breach claim against a private company is generally 6 years.
  • However, the time limit for making a data breach claim is one year if the defendant is a public body, such as a council. Make sure to find out how long your timeframe is, otherwise you may not realise that you don’t have any time left to claim. We can advise you on this if you get in touch as soon as you can.

Rates Of Local Government Cyber Security Data Breaches

How common are data breaches? The government’s Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2021 states that 39% of businesses and 26% of charities had reported experiencing data breaches over the 12 months prior. Of the organisations that stated they had experienced a data breach or cyber attack, 83% of businesses and 79% of charities reported a phishing attack.

Therefore whilst it is important for organisations to invest in cybersecurity systems, these statistics perhaps reinforce that it is also important to train staff to spot the signs of scams and phishing attacks.

What Is A Bristol City Council Data Breach Compensation Claim?

A data breach is when a security incident happens at an organisation, which compromises personal data protection. A data breach can happen because of human error. Or a data protection breach of the local authority can happen because of deliberate actions, such as a cyberattack on the organisation.

If a data protection breach takes place, the following could have been involved:

  • Unauthorised persons may gain unlawful access to personal data.
  • An employee may alter or destroy personal data without a lawful reason, or lose it.
  • A malicious actor may steal personal data from the council.
  • Or the local council may expose data to unauthorised persons, or a data leak may take place.

A council data breach claim is when a data breach victim claims compensation from the council. They have to prove that they suffered emotionally or financially. And the breach should be a result of the council’s failings.

Legal Expert could help you handle your compensation claim. So contact us today for your free legal consultation. And we could connect you with a skilled solicitor to work on your claim if we can see that your claim has a favourable chance of success.

Is My Local Authority Bound By The GDPR?

Local authorities have to follow the rules of the GDPR. Here are some of the General Data Protection Regulation’s key rules:

  • Firstly, the local authority can only collect personal data if the data subject permits them to.
  • Secondly, the local council must explain their purpose for collecting the data. Afterwards, they cannot use the data for any other reason. However, they can, in certain lawful circumstances, share it without their consent.
  • Moreover, the local authority should keep the personal data up-to-date. For example, if a council employee moves house and tells their employer, the council should update the worker’s address on their records.
  • And finally, the council should collect, process and store personal data lawfully. This means that Bristol City Council should follow all relevant data protection rules and regulations.

How Could Data Protection Breaches Affect Local Government Departments?

Local council data breaches can happen because of human error. That is to say, a council employee can make an unintentional mistake, causing a data breach to occur. However, council data breaches can also happen if people with malicious intentions target the council.

Let’s look at some examples of how a local authority could breach your personal data privacy:

  • Due to poor security training, an employee leaves a printed document face-up on a reception desk. Consequently, unauthorised persons could access confidential personal data contained inside.
  • The council has insufficient IT security systems in place. Therefore, it enables criminals to carry out a malware attack or hacking attack. As a result, criminals can steal personal data and use it for malicious purposes, such as fraud or blackmail.
  • The council fails to protect personal information about a resident in documents that they publish.
  • What’s more, the council uploads tenancy documents to an unsecured cloud storage network. As a result, personal data is exposed to unauthorised persons.
  • Similarly, a council email data breach could take place. For example, the council may send a mass email to residents and put the email addresses in the Cc bar, not the Bcc bar. Consequently, the council would share the email addresses without permission or a lawful reason.

Breaches Of Housing Tenants’ Data Privacy

Public housing tenants are individuals who rent social housing from their local council or a housing association.

How could a Bristol City Council data breach occur?

A rent statement data breach could occur, for example, if the council sends a tenancy document containing personal data to the wrong address. If (despite a new address having been provided) the recipient was unauthorised to access it, it could be a breach.

Another example could be that the council sends an information pack to a new landlord but fails to redact personal information belonging to existing tenants.

If the council breaches their tenants’ data privacy, they may share the following information:

  • Names, addresses, dates of birth
  • Phone numbers and email addresses
  • Tenancy documents containing personal information
  • Scans of tenancy audit documents containing personal information

Speak to Legal Expert today if your personal information has been shared without permission. We may be able to help you make a personal data breach claim for compensation.

Making Complaints To The Information Commissioner

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is a public body that upholds the data rights of individuals. The ICO is responsible for upholding laws such as the GDPR and the Data Protection Act 2018. The Information Commissioner’s Office may investigate councils whose failings lead to data breaches. And subsequently, they could issue the council with a data breach fine.

What should you do if you believe that your personal data was involved in a Bristol City Council data breach?

Any council’s data protection officer or relevant party should have reported the mishap to the ICO If a notifiable data breach occurred. Therefore, we recommend that you first speak to the council directly to see if the council can resolve the matter internally.

However, if you are not satisfied with the response you receive, you can report your personal information concerns to the Information Commissioner’s Office.

You would need to do this within three months of the final meaningful response from the council. Remember, the ICO could investigate, but they can’t compensate you for any financial loss or psychological damage caused.

How To Sue A Local Government Department For A Breach Of Data Protection

We will now look at how the data breach claims process works. What should you do if a council cannot resolve your complaint internally? You could involve a data breach solicitor to help you make a data breach compensation claim. Legal Expert can connect you with a skilled solicitor to handle your data breach claim. Here are some of the benefits of working with us:

  • Firstly, our knowledgeable solicitors are experts at working on data protection claims.
  • Secondly, they will assess your claim in-depth before they start working on it. This means that you should receive the right amount of compensation.
  • And finally, they could handle your claim on a No Win No Fee basis.

But don’t just take our word for it. We have reviews to help you learn more about our previous clients’ experiences working with us.

Types Of Damages Commonly Awarded

What can be the effect of a data breach? Data breaches can lead to a gross violation of one’s privacy. Subsequently, victims of a data breach may suffer emotional distress. Sadly, individuals who have had their personal data privacy breached may develop psychological injuries, such as stress or anxiety. This can especially be the case if the data breach put the person in danger.

What’s more, data breach victims could lose money after their personal data privacy has been breached. This is because fraudsters may use their personal details to target them for identity theft or other types of fraud. Consequently, they may steal funds from the data breach victim, causing them to lose money.

If your data breach claim is successful, you would receive up to two heads of claim. The first head of claim will be material damages. Material damages are compensation to reimburse the claimant for any money they lost because of the data breach.

And the second head of claim would be non-material damages. Non-material damages compensate the claimant for any emotional damages or psychological injuries that they have experienced.

Bristol City Council Data Breach Compensation Calculator

You could claim for a personal data breach if you’ve suffered psychological harm but haven’t lost any money because of it. The case of Vidal-Hall and others v Google Inc [2015] went to the Court of Appeal. The Court determined that data breach compensation can be claimed for emotional distress and psychological damage caused, even when there is no financial loss.

The Court also held that psychological harm could be compensated as it would be for personal injury cases.

You may be wondering how much compensation you could claim for a data breach. To estimate how much you could be paid in non-material damages, use the table below. (The table does not include material damages you could claim).

Psychological InjuryDegree Of Harm SufferedCompensatedNotes On The Injury
PTSD - Post-Traumatic Stress DisorderModerate£7,680 to £21,730Claimants should not be left with any symptoms which are disabling.
PTSD - Post-Traumatic Stress DisorderModerately Severe£21,730 to £56,180Claimants should have a more optimistic prognosis than the below category. They will need professional treatment and could still be suffering some significant disability.
PTSD - Post-Traumatic Stress DisorderSevere£56,180 to £94,470Claimants would be left with permanent effects.
Psychiatric InjuriesLess SevereUp to £5,500Compensation will be based on symptoms such as the overall effect on the claimant's personal life and ability to return to work or education.
Psychiatric InjuriesModerate£5,500 to £17,900Claimants may have been affected in the same way as detailed above but have a poorer prognosis.
Psychiatric InjuriesModerately Severe£17,900 to £51,460Claimants may experience problems with work, education and social life and have a worse prognosis than the above.
Psychiatric InjuriesSevere£51,460 to £108,620Claimants suffering the most severe form of injury will have a much poorer prognosis. The compensation awarded will take account of the effect this harm will have on the persons ability to continue in social life, their work, education and relationships.

The compensation amounts in the table are based on guidelines produced by the Judicial College. This is the basis solicitors may start from when valuing your claim. However, the amount of compensation you receive may vary depending on your individual circumstances.

We recommend calling Legal Expert for your free legal consultation. And an advisor will be able to let you know how much your claim could be worth.

No Win No Fee Bristol City Council Data Breach Compensation Claims

Some people feel unsure about how to fund a solicitor’s services for compensation claims. You may wish to do so on a No Win No Fee basis. This means that the solicitor will not require you to pay their fees upfront or hourly. Instead, you would pay a success fee on the condition that your claim is successful. Importantly, you would sign a Conditional Fee Agreement (another term for No Win No Fee agreement) to formalise this.

How Can A No Win No Fee Claim Benefit You?

  • You will only pay the success fee if your solicitor wins your claim. If the claim is unsuccessful, you wouldn’t pay any solicitor fees at all.
  • Your success fee would be deducted from the compensation payout, only after it comes through.

Our solicitors offer No Win No Fee agreements. Why not contact our team to discuss whether or not making a No Win No Fee claim is the right option for you?

Contacting Our Team

Contact our dedicated team today if you can prove you have been affected monetarily or psychologically by a Bristol City Council data protection breach. An advisor will be happy to speak to you in-depth. And we could connect you with a data breach lawyer to start working on your claim if we can see that you are owed compensation.

Contact us using the details below to see if you could begin a council data breach claim:

  • Call 0800 073 8804 to speak to an advisor
  • Use our chat widget to ask a question directly
  • Or, please fill out our online form for a callback

Where To Find Out More

We hope this guide has helped you. You may also be interested in reading these data breach claims guides.

BUPA Healthcare Data Breach Compensation Claims – A guide to claiming following a data breach by BUPA Healthcare

Post Office Money Data Breach Compensation Claims – A guide for people whose personal data privacy was breached by Post Office Money

Sheffield Hallam University Data Breach Compensation Claims – How to claim compensation for a data breach, if you are a Sheffield Hallam University employee or student

Raising A Concern With An Organisation – An ICO guide to raising concerns about a data breach

An ICO guide to Identity Theft

Be Data-Aware – A guide to knowing your data protection rights.

FAQs About Local Authority Data Breach Claims

We will now answer some questions that are often asked about making a data breach claim.

How long after a data breach can I claim?

You would have 6 years to start a personal data breach claim. However, if the data breach violated your human rights, you have one year.

How long could it take to win my case?

The amount of time to settle a data breach claim varies. This depends on the complexity of the case. However, many data breach compensation claims are settled within just a few months.

What evidence do I need to support my case?

Your lawyer may use the following documents to support your data breach claim:

  • A notification from the organisation confirming your personal information was involved in a data breach.
  • Medical records that diagnose any psychological injuries you experienced consequentially.
  • Financial records such as bank statements, which explain any financial losses incurred due to the breach.

Thank you for reading our guide discussing what you could do following a Bristol City Council data breach.

Written by Chelache

Edited by Victorine

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