Can you sue a company for a data breach?

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Can You Sue A Company For A Data Breach?

If you’re wondering ‘Can you sue a company for a data breach?’, this guide aims to help you. Personal data is a valuable asset for businesses. Many organisations require personal information to provide a service. A failure to protect such personal data can have serious consequences.

Can you sue company for data breach

A guide answering the question ‘Can you sue a company for a data breach?’

Personal data that has been breached due to security failures or poor data protection processes can have devastating consequences for the individual affected. Cybercrime and human error are among the main causes of data breaches today.

Therefore, if you have suffered financial loss or emotional distress due to a breach of your personal information, you may be eligible to make a claim. Operating on a No Win No Fee basis, our solicitors could support you. To see if you can be connected, contact our advisors today. Call 0800 073 8804 or raise your claim online.

Our advisors are available 24/7 and give free legal advice.

Select A Section

  1. Can You Sue A Company For A Data Breach?
  2. Why Could You Sue A Company For A Data Breach?
  3. How Could A Data Breach Impact You?
  4. What Can You Do If You Think A Company Breached Your Data Protection?
  5. How Much Can You Sue A Company For A Breach Of Data Protection For?
  6. Find Out The Answer To Can You Sue A Company For A Data Breach?

Can You Sue A Company For A Data Breach?

Personal data breaches occur when personal information is unlawfully or accidentally lost, accessed, disclosed, destroyed or changed following a security breach. Personal data or personal information is data that can be used to identify you. 

The purpose of the UK GDPR framework, introduced in 2018, was to enforce personal data protection across businesses. It does not matter whether a data breach was deliberate or accidental, personal data should be protected.

Personal data includes information relating to an identified or identifiable individual such as a contact name or number. It can also include:

You could sue for any financial or psychological damage caused by a data breach. However, the data breach would need to involve your personal data and be caused by the wrongful conduct of an organisation that was in control of protecting your data.

If you’ve got any questions about data breach claims, why not get in touch? Our advisors are here for you 24/7 and give free legal advice.

Why Could You Sue A Company For A Data Breach?

You could sue a company for a data breach because:

  • Your personal data was compromised.
  • It was the fault of the company that had control of your personal data.
  • You suffered psychological harm or financial loss, or both, as a result.

There are different types of data breaches including:

Confidentiality Data Breach – occurs where there has been an unauthorised or accidental disclosure of, or access to, personal information. 

Availability Data Breach – occurs where there has been an accidental or unauthorised loss of access to, or destruction of, personal information. This could happen after a cyber-attack, for example.

Integrity Data Breach – occurs where there has been an unauthorised or accidental alteration of personal information. 

Personal data breaches could include:

According to the Cyber Security Breaches Survey published in March 2022, cyber security breaches continue to be the most serious threat today. Consistent with previous years of the survey, the results show that in the 12 months prior to the survey, 39% of UK businesses suffered a cyber-security breach with phishing identified as the most common threat vector.

How Could A Data Breach Impact You?

Data breaches can have varying consequences for individuals. Where personal information is compromised, individuals may find themselves suffering psychologically. The intrusion of privacy may cause stress or other emotional harm. The person may have to pay for therapy to cope with the psychological effects.

In instances where a personal data breach has resulted in identity theft, individuals may also suffer significant financial losses.

The fact is that data breaches not only hurt an individual but businesses too. The onus however, remains on a business to ensure that it has a stringent data protection policy. Businesses must therefore work hard to understand and assess risks following a personal data breach or to ensure avoidance of one.

What Can You Do If You Think A Company Breached Your Data Protection?

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is the independent UK body involved in upholding personal information rights. Under the UK GDPR framework, organisations have a duty to report personal data breaches that risk your rights and freedoms to the ICO within 72 hours. A secondary duty is required to inform you of the personal data breach without undue delay. Organisations should have a clear justification for failure to report a personal data breach.

You have various options following a suspected breach:

  • Complain to the organisation involved – you should attempt to contact the business where the breach occurred. If you don’t get a satisfactory response or recieve no response you could contact the ICO.
  • Contact the ICO – you should inform the ICO of the breach only if the organisation didn’t respond to you satisfactorily. You should do this within 3 months of the organisation’s final response on the matter.
  • Contact a UK GDPR claims specialist – you could contact a specialist solicitor to advise you regarding your own unique case. Such a specialist will be able to provide information regarding compensation, help gather evidence and consider the merits of your case.

How Much Can You Sue A Company For A Breach Of Data Protection?

Under the UK GDPR, it is possible to seek compensation for two types of damages. Material damage relates to your finances. Therefore, if you have suffered identity theft or your credit score has been affected by a data breach, you could be compensated.

Non-material damage relates to your mental wellbeing. Therefore, if you have suffered harm such as stress, anxiety or even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) you could be compensated.

Compensation for material damages is variable and depends on the financial losses incurred by an individual. Compensation for non-material damages is also variable but depends on the severity of the emotional damage sustained by an individual.

The compensation table below shows examples of potential awards as outlined in the Judicial College Guidelines’ 16th edition, published in April 2022. Solicitors can use these guidelines when valuing injuries. 

InjurySeverityPotential CompensationComments
Psychological DamageSevere£54,830 to £115,730The person has problems with their ability to cope and has future vulnerability.
Psychological DamageModerately Severe£19,070 to £54,830Significant issues, as above, but with a more positive prognosis.
Psychological DamageModerate£5,860 to £19,070Issues but a clear improvement by the time of trial.
Psychological DamageLess Severe£1,540 to £5,860The length of the disability period and how much sleep is impacted will be taken into account.
Post-Traumatic Stress DisorderSevere£59,860 to £100,670Effects are permanent and the person may not be able to work at all.
Post-Traumatic Stress DisorderModerately Severe£23,150 to £59,860A better prognosis than the above.
Post-Traumatic Stress DisorderModerate£8,180 to £23,150The person has mostly recovered and any continuing effects aren't too disabling.
Post-Traumatic Stress DisorderLess Severe£3,950 to £8,180Within 1 to 2 years, there's a practically full recovery.

If you’d like our advisors to value your claim for free, why not get in touch?

Find Out The Answer To Can You Sue A Company For A Data Breach?

You could sue a company for a data breach under certain circumstances. This includes needing to show that you suffered harm, whether financially or mentally, or both. 

It’s also important to make a claim within 6 years of the data breach or date of knowledge. 

If you are able to make a claim, you could seek legal representation on a No Win No Fee basis. Under a No Win No Fee agreement, you’d only need to pay your solicitor their fee if the claim was successful. This fee would be capped by law and taken from the compensation only after it comes through. You can discuss this fee with your solicitor before agreeing to use their services. 

If the claim wasn’t successful, you wouldn’t need to pay the solicitor’s fee at all. 

If you have a valid claim, why not get in touch? Our advisors are always available and they could connect you to our solicitors.

References

Here are some more of our guides:

Children in Care Data Breach Claims

Mortgage Broker Data Breach Claims

Medical Conditions Data Breach Claims

These external sources could also be useful to you:

Government advice on personal data breaches

Guidance on what you can do after a data breach

Action the ICO has taken

If you have any questions about claiming or want clarity on our answer to ‘Can you sue a company for a date breach?’, just get in touch.

Written by Taylor

Edited by Victorine

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