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Counsellor Data Breach Compensation Claims

By Danielle Jordan. Last Updated March 2024. Have you been subjected to a counsellor data breach?  Are you looking to make a claim for compensation? In this guide, we are providing an overview of the types of medical/health data that could be affected by a data breach. It also has a focus on the information that is collected and provided to a counsellor, and it could include sensitive personal and private patient data. 

This article also has more information on the roles of the UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR), alongside the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) as well as how a No Win No Fee arrangement could be beneficial to you. 

Get in touch with us today to start your data breach claim 

Counsellor Data Breach Compensation Claims

Counsellor Data Breach Compensation Claims

Select A Section

  1. What Is A Counsellor Data Breach?
  2. What Therapy Data Does The UK GDPR Apply To?
  3. Causes Of Clinical Data Breaches
  4. Types Of Clinical And Healthcare Data
  5. What To Do After A Counsellor Data Breach?
  6. Counsellor Data Breach Compensation Calculator
  7. Start Your Counsellor Data Breach Claim

What Is A Counsellor Data Breach?

A counsellor will collect a lot of personal and sensitive data about you. This is so they can provide you with the correct service. Very often they will ask for your name, address, telephone number, email and DOB. This is all considered identifiable information. When they begin to collect data or information about your health and mental wellbeing this is known under the UK GDPR as special category data and needs added protection when being processed.

In a medical data breach personal or sensitive information will have been lost, stolen, destroyed, disclosed or accessed without authorisation through a security incident. When personal or sensitive data is exposed in such a way through the failure of those that should have been protecting it the data subject could pursue a personal data breach claim. 

The information being processed belongs to a data subject and data controllers are those that decide why and how the data is collected – such as a councillor. Data breaches can happen through a cyber-attack or human error, both could lead to information being leaked or exposed to unauthorised people. Impacting the financial and psychological health of those affected. 

It is important to note that there are time limits for making a claim for a data breach. You have 6 years to start the proceedings, or 1 year if it involves a public body.

For more information on counsellor data breaches don’t hesitate to contact our advisors, they are happy to help you through the process. They can offer advice and guidance on your claim.

How Medical Data Is Protected By Data Protection Laws

The UK GDPR and the Data Protection Act 2018 fundamentally protect the data rights of data subjects. They say how personal data should be processed and what rights the data subject has over their own information.

Moreover, the UK GDPR has a set of data protection principles that all companies need to strictly follow to ensure that the data that has been entrusted to them is protected. These principles are: 

  • Accountability
  • Storage limitation
  • Accuracy
  • Purpose limitation
  • Data minimisation
  • Integrity and confidentiality – Security 
  • Lawfulness, fairness and transparency

What Therapy Data Does The UK GDPR Apply To?

The UK GDPR applies to all forms of personal identifiable and sensitive data. Personal data looks at information that can directly identify you such as your name, address, DOB, email etc. Or information that can indirectly identify you when combined with other types of data. 

Health information under the UK GDPR is classed as special category data. Data protection laws state that such information should have added protection when being processed. 

Causes Of Clinical Data Breaches

There could be a number of ways that a data breach could occur. It could be through non-cyber or cyber means, as well as through human error. It is a very common way that a data breach could happen. Human error can be both cyber-related and non-cyber related.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is a non-departmental public body that governs data protection laws and rights for citizens. It offers advice and guidance on how to report a data breach as well as how to minimise the risk of a data breach. 

Examples of Data Breaches

The causes and examples of how a data breach could occur: 

  • Loss/ destruction of data – For cases that involve human error, these can be when a staff member loses or destroys a piece of data in a security incident. Therefore it could impact the company and the data subject by affecting the day-to-day function of the company.
  • Phishing Attacks – By clicking on unfamiliar links within convincing looking emails could lead to hackers being able to access data and potentially hold it to ransom or sell it to an unauthorised third party. 
  • Wrong Email Address – When an email containing personal data is sent to the wrong recipient.
  • Unauthorised accessIf files have been sent to the wrong person, either by accident or deliberately, if that person doesn’t have the authorisation they shouldn’t have access to the data. 

These are only a few examples of how a data breach can occur. The Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2021 has an overview of the latest statistics for the types of data breaches that impacted all of the different types of business sectors and charities. 

If you require any further advice about your claim, please do not hesitate to contact us for free advice and guidance.

Types Of Clinical And Healthcare Data

There are a few different types of clinical and healthcare data, for example, there is the information that is created by a medical professional:

  • Electronic health records that contain the details of previous or ongoing illnesses
  • Prescriptions 
  • Laboratory tests 

And then, there is the information that is provided by the data subject or the patients, this can include both medical information and personal information, such as: 

  • Full name 
  • Date of birth
  • Phone number 
  • Email addresses

What To Do After A Counsellor Data Breach?

If your personal data has been breached, there are certain steps you could take and evidence you could collect to help support your claim.

Following a UK GDPR breach that compromised your personal data, the organisation should have sent you a letter of notification regarding the breach if they think it could affect your rights and freedoms. They should do this without undue delay. This letter could be used as evidence that your personal data was breached.

After you’ve been informed of a counsellor data breach, you can contact the organisation and request further information about the incident, such as what personal data of yours was compromised. Keep any correspondence with the organisation, as this could be sued as evidence in your claim.

You could also report a breach to the ICO. If they decide to investigate the breach, their findings could be used as evidence within your claim. However, you must make this report within 3 months of your last meaningful communication with the organisation regarding the breach.

You could also gather evidence to prove any mental or financial harm you have suffered due to the personal data breach. For example, a copy of your medical records stating any psychological injuries you’ve been diagnosed with could help with proving the mental harm you have suffered. A copy of your bank statements could help with proving the financial harm you have suffered.

For more information on the steps you could take and the evidence you could collect to help support your personal data breach compensation claim, you can contact our advisors today.

Counsellor Data Breach Compensation Calculator

Let’s take a look at data breach compensation payouts.

If you have been impacted by a personal data breach, you could be looking to make a claim for compensation. A valid claim will need to demonstrate that personal or sensitive types of data have been breached. The breach will have happened because the data controller never took the appropriate steps to keep the data safe. You must have suffered harm to be able to claim compensation.

This compensation is calculated by using two different types of damages: material and non-material. These damages are calculated based on the severity of your losses as well as how you were affected. 

The Judicial College provides guideline compensation brackets for common physical and psychological injuries. For the examples of the types of mental injuries you could suffer as well as the various compensation amounts, see the table listed below:

Types of Mental Anguish How Much? Description
Psychiatric Damage Generally: Severe £54,830 to £115,730 With a very poor prognosis, there would be a large effect on day-to-day functioning.
Psychiatric Damage Generally: Moderately Severe £19,070 to £54,830 Significant problems that affect the person’s ability to cope with life, and the prognosis will be more optimistic.
Psychiatric Damage Generally: Less Severe £1,540 to £5,860 This considers the length of time the disability has affected daily activities and sleep.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: Severe £59,860 to £100,670 Cases include permanent effects which prevent a person from working or functioning at any pre-trauma level. All aspects of life are badly affected
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: Moderate £8,180 to £23,150 The injured person will have recovered, but there may be some continuing effects, but they aren’t disabling.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: Less Severe £3,950 to £8,180 There will be a virtual recovery in one to two years. Any lasting effects will only be minor.

Material Damages 

Material damages are the financial impact that could occur as a result of a data breach. You would have to assess what financial damages have been impacted as well as assess the future impact the breach may have on your financial situation. Types of financial aspects that could be affected: 

Non-Material Damages 

Non-material damages focus on the psychological effects that may have been inflicted on you as a result of a breach.

Examples of psychological damage include: 

  • Anxiety 
  • Depression
  • PTSD 

In order to make a claim for non-material damages, you need to be medically assessed. This assessment is to determine the severity of the psychological damages, as well as the impact they have on your life. It will be carried out by an independent medical professional, who would make a report on their findings. 

After the Court of Appeal heard Vidal-Hall and others v Google Inc (2015), the Court determined that you could claim non-material damages after a personal data breach without having suffered any financial losses. You can apply for non-material damages by themselves. This means that you don’t have to have suffered any financial losses in order to make a claim.

For any more information on how you could be compensated for a data breach, don’t hesitate to contact our advisors.

Start Your Counsellor Data Breach Claim

When you start your data breach claim, you may want to hire legal representation using a No Win No Fee agreement. 

A No Win No Fee agreement is a type of Conditional Fee Agreement, it is an arrangement between you and your solicitor. For example, if your claim is successful then a success fee will be taken. This fee is capped by law, so you won’t be left out of pocket. On the other hand, if your claim is unsuccessful, then you wouldn’t have to pay a success fee. 

Your solicitor will discuss all of this with you, so there won’t be any surprises during the claims process.

To answer any burning questions you may have about counsellor data breaches, our advisors are available 24/7 to offer answers, advice and guidance. You can contact us

  • By telephone, on 0800 073 8804
  • Via our live chat feature 
  • On our website

Further Healthcare Data Breach Resources

Here are some additional resources that could be of interest to you. 

The ICO has a large range of information on what you can do if you have been involved in a data breach. With articles on how to minimise the risk of a data breach, as well as how to make a complaint.

We have guides on wrong email address data breach claims.

Also, articles on how to report a data breach

We have guides and articles on data breaches that involve lost or stolen devices.

If you require any further advice about your claim, please do not hesitate to contact us for free advice and guidance.

Guide By Welsh

Edited By Melissa.

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      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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