Data Breaches At Bracknell Council – Compensation Claims Guide
This guide explains how you could claim compensation if data breaches at Bracknell Council occurred. You are likely to know that the GDPR, or the General Data Protection Regulation, came into force when the Data Protection Act (DPA) was enacted in 2018. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has been tasked with gathering information on data breaches that put data subject’s rights and freedoms at risk. If they find that an organisation (or data controller) has broken the rules of the DPA, they can fine them massively. However, they won’t compensate data breach victims. Therefore, we’ll show you how to take action yourself.
To be able to claim data breach compensation it must be proven that the data controller, those that process personal data, have failed to put in policies and procedures to protect your information. You could claim for financial suffering or psychological suffering like distress, anxiety or stress. Throughout this article, we’ll explain how a data breach could occur, what suffering might result and how much compensation might be awarded.
Legal Expert has a team of data breach lawyers who could help you to claim. Importantly, to make accepted claims less stressful, they provide a No Win No Fee service. If you call our advice centre, your case will be assessed by a specialist and you’ll get free legal advice on your options. If you’d like to start the ball rolling, why not call today on 0800 073 8804?
For more details about claiming if a data breach at Bracknell Council occurred before calling us, please read on.
Select A Section
- A Guide On Compensation Claims For Data Breaches At Bracknell Council
- How Frequently Do Data Breaches Occur?
- What Could Be Claims For Data Breaches At Bracknell Council?
- Does The Council Need To Comply With The GDPR?
- Types Of Data Breaches At A Local Council
- Tenancy And Social Work Record Data Breaches
- How Do I Report A Data Protection Breach?
- Beginning The Claims Process
- How Are Payouts Valued?
- Calculate Your Payout If Data Breaches At Bracknell Council Occurred
- No Win No Fee Claims For Data Breaches At Bracknell Council
- Getting The Right Data Protection Breach Solicitor
- Talk To A Solicitor
- Useful Links For Claimants
- Data Breach Council FAQs
If you visit a website, buy food online, register with a GP or join the council’s rental waiting list, you’re likely to be sharing personal information. Generally, quite a bit of identifiable information is needed when using different services. However, there is some risk associated with all of your information flying around the ether.
That’s the reason the GDPR was introduced. It gives you a lot of control over how your personal information is used. You’ll see this in action frequently when you’re asked to press buttons, tick boxes or sign agreements to allow your data to be used. When this happens, it shows that the organisation is adhering to the GDPR’s rules and asking you to consent for them to use information about you.
In terms of local authorities, it would be much more difficult for them to function without information about their clients. However, the new rules mean that they must implement processes to keep everything as secure as possible. If they don’t, and a data breach occurs, could you seek damages if the breach caused you to suffer? In this article we hope to provide an answer to this question.
Something to bear in mind is the fact that data breach claims must be made within 6-years. In some cases, this drops to 1-year if the claim centres on human rights. Therefore, we’d suggest starting the claims process as quickly as possible to avoid missing out on any compensation you might be entitled to.
If you would like to ask any questions about claiming for a council data breach, why not use the number above to get in touch?
You might not think that data breaches happen very often. However, because many of them need to be reported to the ICO, the frequency they occur at is becoming clearer. In its most recent figures, the ICO shows the following local government statistics:
- Emailing information to the wrong person: 40 instances.
- Failure to redact personal information: 35.
- Losing paperwork that was left at an insecure location: 13.
For cybersecurity, the figures include:
- Ransomware attacks: 5.
- Malware: 2.
- Phishing emails: 4.
We have used a sample of the causes listed for the period 1st April 2021 to 30th June 2021.
OK, so what is a data breach? Well, the GDPR documentation explains that a data breach is likely to have occurred following a security incident where personally identifiable information is accessed, deleted, lost, disclosed or altered unlawfully.
If a Bracknell Council data breach takes place, and you suffer because of the breach you could claim for financial losses as well as psychiatric injuries like anxiety, depression or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). However, the onus is on you to prove that the data controller had failed to protect your personal information accordingly. If a data controller has put all the necessary procedures in place but a data breach still occurred they would not necessarily be liable.
Something else to consider is that data breaches are sometimes caused by criminals. In these cases, you couldn’t claim unless it can be shown that an organisation’s actions (or inaction) allowed the breach to take place. For example, if a cyberattack was possible because the data controller hadn’t performed software security updates, then a claim might be possible.
Feel like you are eligible to claim compensation? If so, please call our team today and we’ll review your case for free.
The GDPR applies to any personal information that’s processed by a computer system. It also applies to physical documents that are stored within a filing system. As well as having a lawful basis to process, data controllers should be able to show that they comply with the 6 principles of the GDPR. They are:
- Using lawful, transparent and fair methods.
- Only collect personal data for legitimate and specified reasons.
- Limit the collection of personal data to what is necessary.
- Keep all personal information up to date and accurate.
- Use appropriate security measures to keep data secure.
- Never keep personal data for longer than it is needed.
Where the rules of the UK GDPR are broken, it is possible that the ICO may wish to investigate. This process can lead to enforcement notices or large financial penalties being issued.
A data breach at a Council does not need to be illegal or deliberate for you to make a claim. Accidental breaches of the GDPR could also allow you to seek damages. While it’s not possible to list every scenario that could lead to a breach in this guide, here are a few examples:
- If a council officer discusses your case (and names you) within earshot of others.
- Where a USB stick or a laptop containing personal data that is not encrypted is lost.
- If details about your tenancy are sent to the wrong address.
- Where sensitive documentation is found by a member of the public because it wasn’t destroyed securely.
- If members of the public can read information about you because a computer terminal is left unlocked.
Importantly, where a security breach is identified, they should let you know about it without undue delay (if it puts you at risk). Furthermore, they must report it to the ICO in 72-hours if your rights and freedoms are put at risk.
Let’s now think about what records or documents held by a local authority might contain personal data. It would be impossible to list every piece of documentation here, but here are a few examples:
- Tenancy agreements. It is likely that these will contain your contact information, your property’s address and some of your financial details.
- Rent statements. Again, these might contain details about you and your property. They might also show details of any rent arrears.
- Identification documents. In some cases, scans or photocopies of your passport or driver’s licence might be retained by the council.
It’s quite easy to think how dangerous it could be for these documents to end up in the wrong hands. Criminals could use them to extort money from you or for identity theft. Furthermore, you could face a period of anxiety, worry or embarrassment if the wrong person were to see information about you.
Councils have a duty under the GDPR to protect any personal information they collect. To learn more about your options, please call today.
As we have mentioned, the ICO can investigate potential data breaches. However, it is really important to gather evidence when a data breach occurs in case you are eligible to make a claim.
In the first instance, complain to a council formally. They will provide a formal response in due course outlining their findings. If you don’t agree with the response, you will be told how to escalate your complaint. You should follow this process as far as possible to try and resolve the matter.
When it’s been 3-months since you have heard any meaningful response, you can escalate your complaint to the ICO. If they choose to intervene, their report might contain information that could help prove whether your data was exposed in a data breach. However, even if they agree with you, they won’t award any compensation.
For that reason, an ICO report is not always necessary in data breach claims. Our solicitors may be able to reach an amicable agreement with the data controller without ICO involvement. Therefore, we would suggest that you call our team when you’re ready to claim. If a solicitor takes your case on, they’ll review it and let you know whether you should report your case or not.
OK, we’ll summarise the process of making a data breach claim in this section. Our advice would be to:
- Collect any documentation that could be used as evidence. You could use medical records, financial records or letters from a council about the data breach.
- Call our team to discuss whether you have the grounds to claim compensation.
It’s really easy to get in touch and there’s nothing to lose by calling. We won’t waste your time and we’ll be honest about your chances of being compensated. Please get in touch if you’d like guidance on how to start a claim.
Making a compensation request following a data breach isn’t always easy. There is a lot to be considered and each claim will vary depending on its circumstances. Usually, you’ll split the claim into two:
- Material damages might be claimed for any financial costs, expenses or losses resulting from the breach.
- Non-material damages could be requested if you’ve been psychologically injured following the GDPR breach.
In the first case, an example could be where you’ve had money stolen from your bank account. This could happen if a criminal used your personal information to perform identity theft. Similarly, any stress, embarrassment or anxiety that resulted from the breach could mean you need to claim non-material damages.
However, data breach compensation needs to consider future suffering as well. That means that during your claim, you will be asked to see an independent medical specialist. Your solicitor will book an appointment locally. During the medical assessment, you’ll be asked questions and your medical records might be reviewed. Then the specialist will record their prognosis in a medical report.
To help you claim the correct level of compensation, we believe you should have legal representation. If you work with us, one of our solicitors will review your case fully before submitting it. They’ll try to include all aspects of your suffering to try and make sure you are compensated fairly.
If you’d like more information, why not get in touch today?
In this section, we have included a table to show how much certain injuries could be awarded in compensation. As mentioned above, claim values can vary based on your level of suffering. Therefore, please use these figures as guidance only. When you call for a free case review, your advisor may be able to offer a better estimate for you.
In 2015, the Court of Appeal ruled that it is now possible to claim for mental suffering when no financial harm has occurred.
|Type of Injury||Severity||Information||Potential Settlement Range|
|PTSD||Very severe||Victims will sustain very serious symptoms that have an impact on the ability to lead a normal life or carry out work. Relationships problems will occur too.||£56,180 to £94,470
|Moderately severe||Victims will sustain moderately severe PTSD symptoms. There will be a less serious impact than above.||£21,730 to £56,180|
|Moderate||Victims will have moderate PTSD symptoms. A full recovery is expected with the right treatment.||£7,680 to £21,730|
|Psychiatric damage||Very severe||There will be severe psychological injuries. Factors used to decide compensation include whether the claimant can work, the impact on daily life and how relationships are affected.||£51,460 to £108,620|
|Moderately severe||There will be moderately severe mental injuries. The prognosis is more positive than above.||£17,900 to £51,460|
|Moderate||There will be moderate mental injuries with a good prognosis.||£5,500 to £17,900|
Why not call us today to see how much you could be awarded?
There is no doubt that the thought of paying solicitors fees and then losing the case puts many off from acquiring legal representation or even claiming at all. Having a solicitor is not a legal requirement but their experience can bring many benefits to your case. To counter any worries concerning solicitor fees, our data breach solicitor work on a No Win No Fee basis.
If your case is taken on after it’s been reviewed, you’ll be given a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). This will fund your case and set out the criteria your solicitor needs to meet before they are paid. Basically, you don’t pay any solicitor’s fees unless you receive compensation. If your claim is won, you’ll pay a success fee to cover your solicitor’s work. This is detailed in the CFA and is a fixed percentage of any settlement payment you receive. Importantly, success fees are capped in law to stop overcharging from occurring.
Our advisors can check if you’re likely to be accepted on a No Win No Fee basis if you call them today.
The team of solicitors at Legal Expert have been helping clients for decades. Our services range from criminal injury claims to data breach claims as well as medical negligence cases and personal injury claims. The important thing is that we only take claims on where we believe we can help you achieve compensation.
If you’d like to claim should a Bracknell Council data breach take place, you could read our online reviews to find out more about us. We are registered with the Solicitors Regulation Authority and our solicitors provide a No Win No Fee service for all claims they work on.
Please get in touch to find out if we could help you make a claim.
We hope that our guide on claiming for suffering caused by a data breach has helped. If you would like to talk with us about your options, you can:
- Call our team of specialists by calling 0800 073 8804.
- Ask an online advisor for free legal advice via live chat.
- Send an email with an explanation of your claim to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Request a call back by completing our online contact form.
Remember, there’s no obligation on you to proceed and you’ll get free advice on your options whatever you decide to do.
We are almost at the end of this article about the process of claiming if a data breach at Bracknell Council ever occurred. Therefore, we’ve added some useful links that may help you:
Data Protection – A government summary of how the Data Protection Act applies in everyday life.
Anxiety Self-Assessment – An NHS tool that could indicate whether you need to seek support for anxiety.
ICO Decisions – Here you can read reports to find out how the ICO has dealt with recent complaints.
Lost Personal Data – A guide to explain your options if a company loses information they hold on you.
Social Services Data Breaches – Information on whether you could claim for any suffering caused by a social services GDPR breach.
Employer Data Breaches – If you have been harmed because your employer has been involved in a data breach, then this guide could help.
In this final section of our guide, we’ve provided answers to some relevant GDPR questions.
Can an individual be held responsible for a data breach under GDPR?
When the Information Commissioner’s Office investigates data breaches, they’ll usually look at the data controller’s company as a whole. Therefore, it is unlikely that they would single out an individual member of staff.
Who at a council is responsible for protecting your data?
Any officer at a council who deals with personal data must ensure they comply with the GDPR. In addition, the council may employ a data protection officer who may be responsible for overseeing how data is processed and training staff to comply with the rules of the GDPR.
Can under 18s claim for data protection breaches?
In law, under 18 cannot represent themselves legally. However, that doesn’t prevent them from making a data breach claim. Instead, a parent can act as their litigation friend and deal with legal professionals on their behalf.
Thank you for reading our article about claiming compensation if data breaches at Bracknell Council ever happened. If you would like to begin a claim, please call today.
Guide By Hambridge
Edited By Melissa.