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Crawley Borough Council Data Breach Compensation Claims Guide – How Much Compensation Can I Claim?

A Local Council Breached My Data Privacy, What Should I Do?

The following guide offers an overview of what you could do after a potential Crawley Borough Council data breach. We’re going to look at the UK legislation that protects personal information. We’ll also examine how councils protect personal information. In this guide, you are going to learn in what ways your personal data could be at risk, as well as how you could pursue compensation based on psychological harm or financial loss caused by a breach.

Crawley Council data breach claims guide

Crawley Borough Council data breach claims guide

Not every data breach will result in compensation, however. That’s why, in this guide, we consider what wrongful positive conduct on the part of a council could be in terms of personal data breaches. If a council’s failings led to a data breach that caused you mental harm or financial loss, you could potentially claim.

Considering every claim is unique in some way, we may not be able to fully address all of your questions in this short guide. Nevertheless, we can assist you. You can contact our claims team round the clock, 365 days a year, if you need assistance or advice regarding the process of filing a claim, and to learn about using a No Win No Fee solicitor. For more information, you can call 0800 073 8804.

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A Guide To Claims For A Crawley Borough Council Data Breach

In this guide, we will give you a brief overview of the compensation claims process for a personal data breach. To make decisions about your potential claim, you need to have facts.

We start this guide with a graph that shows how data breaches can be caused. A general introduction and overview of what a data breach is, along with laws regarding the protection of personal and sensitive information in the UK are then given.

Following that, we will examine some of the ways that a personal data breach can occur. The risk of data breaches for council tenants is also addressed. We will also provide a number of examples to help you decide if you have been a victim of a breach.

We will review your right to complain, as well as the UK regulator’s role in enforcing data protection laws. There is an explanation of the steps involved in dealing with a data breach, from the initial discovery to filing a claim.

There is a section on how the claim might be financially handled, along with a sample compensation table, and information on how damages might be pursued. No Win No Fee claims are explained to you, and you will learn how you don’t pay your lawyer any fees until your claim is successfully resolved in such cases.

Finally, the guide concludes with some advice on starting a claim, some links that may be helpful, and an FAQ that answers common questions about claims.

Start Your Claim Within The Time Limit

There is a time limit for starting a data breach claim. This is determined by the circumstances of the claim. To illustrate:

  • If the claim involves a council or another public organisation, you have one year to claim.
  • In cases involving private companies, it’s six years.

Our claim advisors are available to assist you in learning the specific time limits applicable to your case. And that’s especially true considering how many factors could influence the timeframe for you to claim.

Get More Help And Advice

We have a 24/7 claims team available to answer your questions. And you’ll be under no obligation to proceed with the services of our solicitors. For more information about claiming for a personal data breach, please contact us using the information at the end of this guide.

Must-Know Data Breach Statistics

There is an independent UK authority known as the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). It enforces data protection law. Also, the ICO is able to pursue actions against organisations that violate data privacy laws. This guide will explain the ICO in more detail later. Based on data from the Information Commissioner’s Office, we can provide this graph related to government data breaches

Cause of Data Breaches

As you can see, non-cyber security incidents can be caused for a variety of reasons, and be deliberate or accidental.

What Could A Crawley Borough Council Data Breach Be?

Your local council is required by law to follow rules and regulations related to data security and privacy when processing your personal data.

Personal data is the kind that can be used to identify you. For example, it could include:

  • Names
  • Addresses
  • Email addresses

Because it can be used to identify you, it should be protected.

You may give permission to data controllers (organisations or councils, for example, that decide how and why they’ll use your personal information) for your personal data to be processed. If you do, you would be a data subject. The data controller would have a responsibility to protect your personal information.

However, mistakes can happen and your data can become exposed to unauthorised use or access. A personal data breach occurs when your data is accessed, destroyed, disclosed, changed or lost due to a security fault. This happens without a lawful reason.

In such cases, if you can prove that the council failed to take all proper actions to protect your data, then you could be in a position to make a compensation claim. If you have evidence of a valid claim, please get in touch with our claims team.

What could a Crawley Borough Council data breach involve?

Crawley Borough Council could be held liable for personal data breaches if it fails to follow laws relating to data security and privacy. In the event of this failure, personal data could have been exposed or used without a lawful reason.

What Data Protection Rules Apply To Public Bodies?

A local authority such as Crawley Council has to comply with the rules and regulations that pertain to personal data privacy and security in the UK.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a European Union (EU) regulation. It was enacted into UK law via the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA 2018).

However, the DPA 2018 sits alongside what has come to be known as the UK GDPR. Overall, this legislation applies to personal data security and privacy in the UK. Form now on, when we refer to GDPR in this guide we mean UK GDPR, not EU GDPR.

Essentially, under data protection law, those who handle personal data should take measures to protect it. For example, a data controller is unable to share personal information without your consent, unless there’s a lawful reason to do so. A lawful exemption can include when your life is in danger and your details need to be shared with medical professionals, for instance.

Forms Of Data Councils May Hold

If you are a resident or employee of a local council, the authority will likely store and process a variety of personal and sensitive data related to you and your family. Therefore, there are many ways in which a personal data breach might occur. Here are some examples:

  • Council email data breaches occur when your personal data is sent to a party without a lawful reason to view it.
  • Social services verbally share your personal information with unauthorised persons without a lawful basis.
  • Using the wrong address when sending a letter containing personal information, despite having the correct one on file, where it’s accessed by an unauthorised person.
  • A company employee has access to your personal information in order to use it for their own private purposes rather than for a lawful basis.

Each of the examples provided above shows how data protection can fail, causing your personal data to be misused or accessed by unauthorised parties. Of course, there are many more ways in which this could occur. Please call us for an assessment of your situation, and to discover if you may be entitled to compensation.

Social Housing Tenancy Data Breaches

The council is also required to protect the personal data it collects and processes on housing tenants. Think about the amount of information added every time you make a rent payment, for example. Personal data protection may be compromised in the following circumstances:

  • Tenancy documents, scans of tenancy audit documents or sensitive tenant information being misplaced or stolen due to poor data security practices.
  • The security of rent statements was breached due to the paperwork being left in an unsecured place where it was accessed by an individual who had no lawful basis for access.
  • Making documents accessible to the public without redacting personal data.

Once again, we have examples of simple mistakes and errors resulting in data breaches. If a data breach was caused by a council’s positive wrongful conduct, you may be able to claim as long as you can prove you suffered financially or psychologically. If you would like more information about this, you can speak to our claims team.

Should You Notify The Information Commissioner?

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) enforce data protection law in the UK. We will now discuss when a data breach needs to be reported to the ICO.

In the event that you believe that there has been a council data breach, you can contact the local authority for clarification, and to resolve the issue. The problem, however, may not be adequately addressed.

The ICO can be contacted in this case by making a complaint regarding the incident. If, however, you haven’t spoken with the council in relation to the matter in more than three months, the ICO may not investigate the complaint.

If your complaint is accepted, the ICO can investigate and potentially take action against the council. However, they can’t provide you with compensation. To do this, you’d need to make a compensation claim.

This guide on what to potentially do after a Crawley Borough Council data breach aims to give information to help you. However, if you find that you have any questions, why not get in touch?

What To Do If Affected By A Breach Of Data Protection

Preparing for a claim after a local council data breach has a logical timeline. The first step is to contact the council. They may be able to tell you how long data has been exposed and what type of information has been exposed. Additionally, you may be able to learn what has been done to resolve the breach.

In any case, if the council does not respond properly to your complaint, you can contact the ICO and make a complaint. You are still able to go forward and submit a compensation claim even if you do this. Your right to seek compensation is not affected by ICO decisions or actions.

We can guide you through the process of making a claim if you have been the victim of a council data breach because of their security failings. You’d need to also show you’ve suffered financial loss or mental harm because of the breach. Use the contact information at the end of the guide to get more help and advice for free.

Types Of Material And Non-Material Damages Awarded

A Court of Appeal case in 2015 allowed victims who suffered psychological harm, such as anxiety or stress, as a result of a data breach to claim compensation, even though they had not faced any financial loss. The case was Vidal-Hall and others v Google Inc. [2015]. Compensation for psychological harm is otherwise known as non-material damages.

You can prove non-material damages by attending a medical assessment. An independent medical professional would assess your injuries. The purpose of the medical assessment is to prove:

  1. That your injuries were caused or worsened by the data breach.
  2. How severe these injuries are.

The professional would then create a report. You (or your solicitor, if you choose to use the services of one) can use this report to value your psychological injuries.

Furthermore, you could also be able to recover financial losses caused by a data breach. This is known as material damages.

Using your digital identity could result in significant financial loss if it is misused by a cybercriminal, for example. It could be possible to access your bank account, or use your card for purchases, and apply for new loan agreements in your name.

You may be able to recover the financial loss if your claim is valid. You could prove the losses using (for example) bank statements or credit scores.

Calculating Crawley Borough Council Data Breach Claim Payouts

A council data breach claim is not necessarily straightforward to value. Damages awarded will vary depending on the uniqueness of each claim.

We are able to give you an example of a compensation table though, based on guidelines supplied by the Judicial College. The Judicial College Guidelines are used by legal professionals when valuing injuries.

The table below shows example compensation ranges for different severities of psychological harm that could be caused by a data breach.

Mental Problem How Severe? Possible compensation More Info
Psychiatric harm Moderate £5,500 – £17,900 In this bracket are moderate psychological injuries. Symptoms may affect a victim’s function and quality of life. A full recovery is likely with time and treatment, however.
Psychiatric harm Less severe Up to £5,500 Falling under this compensation category would be less severe psychological harm. Though the victim may have a diminished quality of life for some time, it is likely that they will make a full recovery, although they may have ongoing symptoms for some time.
Psychiatric harm Moderately severe £17,900 – £51,460 The victim’s ability to function and quality of life will be affected by the injuries. Additionally, even after treatment, the victim may continue to suffer some level of symptoms.
Psychiatric harm Severe £51,460 – £108,620 As a result of the mental harm, the victim will have a much lower quality of life and a lowered capacity to function. A victim may continue to show a number of symptoms, possibly permanently, even after extensive treatment.

If you can’t see your injuries in the compensation table above, why not get in touch? Our advisors offer free estimates.

Claim For Crawley Borough Council Data Breaches Through A No Win No Fee Agreement

There’s a good chance you’re familiar with the concept of No Win No Fee. However, there might be beneficial aspects of it that you’re not yet aware of.

A No Win No Fee arrangement requires you to pay no solicitor’s fee unless your claim results in compensation. You won’t need to pay upfront solicitor fees and ongoing solicitor fees won’t be charged either.

If your lawyer does not win your claim, you need not pay them their fee at all. In the case of a successful claim, you’d pay the solicitor a success fee, which is a small percentage of the compensation. In addition, there is a limit to the percentage of this small fee by law.

We recommend you contact one of our expert advisors to learn more about how to make such a claim. Plus, if you have a favourable claim, our advisors could connect you with our solicitors.

Additionally, if you want a more detailed description of the No Win No Fee claims process, please let our advisor know. They will be happy to walk you through the process of making a claim this way.

How Could A Public Sector Data Breach Solicitor Help You?

Do you have evidence to qualify a claim following a Crawley Borough Council data breach? If you need help evaluating your claim, we can assist. Our advisors can connect those with solid grounds for a valid claim with our solicitors.

Our solicitors can:

  • Accurately value your potential claim
  • Cut through the legal jargon
  • Help you throughout the process
  • Negotiate with the other side on your behalf
  • Work for you from anywhere in the country

For more information, please give us a quick call at the number below.

Talk To An Expert

Contact our advisors if you have a valid claim. You can reach us whenever you’re ready to get any help that you need. For your ease, our advisors are available 24/7. In addition, you won’t be under any obligation to proceed with our services and the legal advice is free.

Our expert advisors are available to evaluate your claim for you, answer your questions and let you know what your legal options might be. If your claim is potentially valid, they can connect you with our lawyers.

You can contact the advisors using the information below.

  • Telephone: 0800 073 8804
  • Use our claim online form for a callback at a time best for you.
  • Use our live chat to talk with our advisors online instantly.

Useful Information

Other guides like these are worth reading as well.

Here are some other resources you may find useful.

Local Government GDPR Guidance

Personal Data Breaches

Report A Breach: For Organisations

Frequently Asked Questions About Data Breaches

Below, you will find some simple answers to some of the types of questions that you might have about making a compensation claim for a council data breach.

What does the GDPR require by law?

Every organisation that stores or processes personal information in the UK must comply with UK GDPR. This means that how personal data is stored and used is tightly controlled so that only authorised entities have access to it or it is only used lawfully. Additionally. it should only be processed in ways that the data subject has given permission for unless there’s another lawful basis.

What is the penalty for GDPR violation?

The ICO is responsible for enforcing the UK GDPR. And it is the ICO that can take punitive action against an organisation that has caused a data privacy and security breach. The penalty can range from an entry in the public data breach register, a heavy fine, and even prosecution.

How much compensation do you get for a data breach?

Without certain information, it is difficult to give a general figure for the amount of compensation you might get if you do win a council data breach claim. Each claim has unique aspects that affect the overall compensation settlement and the types of compensation claimed for. You can call and speak to our claims team who may be able to give you a rough valuation or potentially connect you with a solicitor to value it more accurately for you.

Can I get compensation for a GDPR breach?

There are only certain circumstances where you could claim. You can call and speak to our claims team who will be able to tell you whether you have a potentially viable reason to make a compensation claim following a personal data breach.

Thank you for reading this guide on what you could do following a Crawley Borough Council data breach.

Written by Wheeler

Edited by Victorine

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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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