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Elmbridge Borough Council Data Breach Claims

In this guide, you’ll learn how a potential Elmbridge Borough Council data breach could be dealt with.

In recent years, the UK General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018 have been enacted. Hand in hand, data protection laws aim to give some control back to individuals (data subjects) over how their personal information is used.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) enforces these laws and could fine any company that breaks the rules. However, the ICO can’t compensate you even if they confirm the data breach took place. That’s why we’ll show you how to take action yourself.

Elmbridge Borough Council data breach

For data breach compensation claims, you need to show that there was a company that had a responsibility to protect your personal data and that their positive wrongful conduct led to a personal data breach. Where that’s possible, you could be compensated for any suffering caused by financial losses related to the breach. You could also claim for depression, stress and similar psychological injuries if they were caused by the data breach. As we progress, we’ll look at what level of compensation might be awarded in such cases.

We can help you if you’re thinking of making a claim. Our advisors provide free legal advice and will assess any claim on a no-obligation basis. Where there are solid grounds to make a claim, we could appoint a data breach lawyer. Importantly, to try and make the claim as stress-free as possible, they’ll operate on a No Win No Fee basis for any claim they work on.

If you would like more information on how to claim, please call our advisors on 0800 073 8804. Alternatively, please read on to learn more about what you could do following a data breach at Elmbridge Borough Council.

Select A Section

  1. A Guide About Claims For An Elmbridge Borough Council Data Breach
  2. Cyber Security Breach Statistics
  3. What Are Claims For An Elmbridge Borough Council Data Breach?
  4. How To Comply With UK GDPR
  5. Types Of Data Protection Breach
  6. Housing And Social Services Data Breach
  7. Data Breach Cyber Attack Report
  8. How To Claim For A Local Authority Data Breach
  9. Data Protection Breach Damages Awards
  10. Elmbridge Borough Council Data Breach Compensation Payout Calculator
  11. No Win No Fee Solicitors For Elmbridge Borough Council Data Breach Cases
  12. Find Solicitors Taking On A Data Protection Breach Case
  13. Need To Talk To A Solicitor?
  14. Resources Section
  15. FAQs Data Breach Victims Have

A Guide About Claims For An Elmbridge Borough Council Data Breach

We would like to point out that data breach claims against local authorities have a time limit of just one year. For that reason, we’d suggest that you act quickly so you don’t miss out on the compensation you might be due. There are some exceptions to this rule so please call to check.

The point of data protection law is to keep any personal data safe. Personal data or personal information is anything that can be used to identify you, such as your name, address or phone number.

If your personal data is compromised, the ICO can take action if an organisation’s failings led to this. However, no matter how seriously you have suffered, the ICO’s action won’t result in you being paid compensation. Therefore, we’ll explain what action you can take yourself throughout this guide. We’ll also explain what level of compensation might be paid for certain injuries.

While local authorities are public bodies that need personal data to function properly, they have the same duty to protect it as other organisations do. If they don’t follow the rules, and you end up suffering mental harm or financial loss as a result, we could help you.

To learn more about your options, please get in touch once you’ve finished reading our guide.

Cyber Security Breach Statistics

One of the consequences of the UK GDPR is that certain data breaches must now be reported. Therefore, security policies and procedures could improve over the coming years. To give some idea of how often data breaches occur, we have listed some local government data security incident trends reported to the ICO in the first quarter of 2021-2022 below.

Non-Cybersecurity Breaches

  • Personal data emailed to the wrong individual. (40 incidents).
  • Not redacting personal information (35).
  • Paperwork being left in insecure locations or loss (13).

Top 3 Cybersecurity Breaches

  • Ransomware viruses (5 incidents).
  • Phishing emails (4).
  • Malware attacks (2).

These figures cover the reporting period of 1st April 2021 to 30th June 2021.

What Are Claims For An Elmbridge Borough Council Data Breach?

Let’s look now at the GDPR’s definition of a personal data breach. They say that it is where personally identifiable data is changed, lost, disclosed, accessed or destroyed without a lawful reason during a security incident.

On its own, that won’t give you the grounds to start a claim though. For a solicitor to consider working on a council data breach claim, you will need to show them that:

  • The data breach took place and your information was exposed by it.
  • You have suffered financially or psychologically as a result. Conditions like Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), distress or anxiety that are worsened by the data breach could lead to a claim.

Additionally, where external illegal acts cause the breach to happen, you may not be able to claim unless the council did or didn’t do something that allowed the criminals to act. For example, if your information was leaked in a cyberattack, it might be possible to still claim if the hack happened because the council’s firewall was out of date.

If you are not sure if you have the grounds to claim, why not call today? We’ll review everything for you and let you know your options.

How To Comply With UK GDPR

When setting up new functions or starting a project, the council may check whether they need to process personal data. If there is another solution to the problem that can be achieved without personal data, then a lawful basis to process such data will not be established.

Personal information that is stored electronically is covered by the UK GDPR. The same is true for paper records that contain personal information. In addition to needing a lawful basis, the council needs to abide by the UK GDPR principles when using personal data. They should:

  1. Use methods that are legal, fair and transparent.
  2. Only process the personal information that is needed for the task at hand.
  3. Collect personal data for explicit, legitimate and specified reasons.
  4. Ensure the data is processed securely.
  5. Never retain personal information for longer than necessary.
  6. Make sure personally identifiable data is accurate and up to date.
  7. Be accountable for how and why they process personal data.

If these rules are not followed, and a data breach occurs, the ICO could step in to investigate what went wrong. This could lead to enforcement action or a financial penalty for the council.

Types Of Data Protection Breach

We are now going to look at what sorts of incidents within a local council could constitute a personal data breach. Some examples include:

  • Where an unauthorised party overhears council staff talking about your case and identifying you in a public area.
  • If any personal information on a laptop is not secured and is stolen or lost.
  • Where computer screens are visible in public areas of the council’s offices meaning your personal data is read by unauthorised parties who don’t have a lawful reason to view it.
  • If a council staff member uploads personal information to its website without a lawful reason.
  • Where letters are sent to the wrong recipient (despite the correct address being on file) and contain personal information.

As you can see, some of the scenarios are not deliberate. That doesn’t matter though as you can still claim for accidental data breaches, providing that the council’s positive wrongful conduct led to it and you suffered mental harm or financial loss as a result.

If a council data breach were to happen, you would need to be informed as soon as possible if it posed a risk to your rights and freedoms. Additionally, in that instance, the council would need to tell the ICO within 72 hours.

Housing And Social Services Data Breach

Social services and the housing department are two key services in many local authorities. Due to the nature of their work, each will need to retain some personal data about clients. It should be stored securely to comply with the UK GDPR. Some examples of the documents that they should secure include:

  • Tenancy agreements. These will contain your contact details, your home address and may also include financial data too.
  • Social services records. Where these relate to vulnerable adults or children, they are likely to contain very sensitive personal data.
  • Annual rent statements. As well as your personal details, these may contain information such as any outstanding arrears.

If this type of information were to be leaked unlawfully, it could cause all sorts of problems. Not only could you face a period of anxiety or embarrassment, but you may also lose money if the information makes its way into criminal hands.

According to the rules of the UK GDPR, local authorities have a duty to keep such personal data safe. If they don’t and you suffer mental harm of financial loss because of a subsequent data breach, you could be eligible to claim compensation.

Data Breach Cyber Attack Report

If your personal data has been exposed by a council data breach or cybersecurity attack, you may decide to contact the ICO. Before you do, though, there is a process to follow. Therefore, you should:

  • Complain about the breach directly to the council and wait for their formal response.
  • If the council’s response isn’t satisfactory, you can escalate your complaint.
  • When all paths have been followed, and 3 months haven’t yet passed since your last meaningful contact with the council on the matter, you could contact the ICO.

As we have mentioned already, the ICO has legal powers to conduct an investigation into potential data breaches. However, their powers don’t stretch to awarding compensation. As a result, you might want to check with a solicitor before escalating the complaint to the ICO.

That’s because it is possible for the council to concede and pay data breach compensation for your suffering once your solicitor has presented evidence to them. If your case is taken on, one of our solicitors will explain your options in more detail. To find out whether we could help you understand how to claim, please get in touch today.

How To Claim A Local Authority Data Breach

We’ll now summarise how you could start a claim for a council data breach. We believe it’s best to:

  • Collect medical records, financial statements and communications from the council relating to the breach. This could form some of the evidence needed to support your claim.
  • Call Legal Expert for a free assessment of your claim. We’ll check if you have the grounds to proceed.

Our claims line is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week so please call when it’s most convenient for you.

Data Protection Breach Damages Awards

In most cases, personal data breach claims are broken down into two main elements:

  • Material damages – where you claim for the financial impact of the breach.
  • Non-material damages – aim to compensate for any pain or suffering caused by anxiety, stress and other psychological injuries due to the data breach.

In the first instance, you might need to claim if your personal data was stolen by hackers and then used to steal money from your bank account. Similarly, claims for diagnosed psychological injuries might be possible if the data breach caused embarrassment, distress or even worsened Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms.

It is important to consider any future suffering as well, though. That’s because only one claim is allowed for each incident. Therefore, if you use the services of a solicitor during the claims process, they would book a local medical assessment for you. This will be conducted by an independent expert who’ll document your injuries and provide a prognosis too. If they say that you’ll suffer further symptoms for a couple of years, for example, then that would need to be factored into your claim. They’d create a report, which is designed to show:

  1. The data breach caused or exacerbated your symptoms.
  2. How severe your injuries are.

Because it is so important to get your claim right, we believe that it’s important to have a data breach lawyer on your side. If ours agree to work with you, they will try to fully understand how you’ve been affected before submitting your claim. By doing so, they’ll try to achieve the maximum compensation possible for your suffering.

Interested in what you could claim for? Give us a call and we’ll explain your options for free.

Elmbridge Borough Council Data Breach Compensation Payout Calculator

You may be here because you want to know how much compensation will be paid for the suffering you’ve endured following a data breach. While we can’t provide exact amounts, we have provided a table using data from the Judicial College. This is used when calculating settlement amounts for personal injury claims.

Vidal-Hall and others v Google Inc [2015] was heard by The Court of Appeal. The case resulted in it being allowable for psychological injuries to be considered in data breach claims regardless of whether the claimant has lost any money. Before this case, you had to suffer financial loss due to a data breach in order to also claim psychological harm.

Where a claim is successful, the amount awarded can be based on personal injury settlement figures. That’s why we were able to use figures from the Judicial College Guidelines in the compensation table below.

Edit
Injury suffered Compensation Range Severity
Psychiatric Harm £51,460 to £108,620 Diagnosed as severe
£17,900 to £51,460 Diagnosed as being moderately severe
£5,500 to £17,900 Diagnosed as being moderate
Up to £5,500 Diagnosed as being less severe
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder £56,180 to £94,470 Diagnosed as being severe
£21,730 to £56,180 Diagnosed as being moderately severe
£7,680 to £21,730 Diagnosed as being moderate
Up to £7,680 Diagnosed as being less severe

If you’d like to take action and discuss starting a claim, or you’d like a free estimate of what you could claim, why not call our advisors today?

No Win No Fee Solicitors For Elmbridge Borough Council Data Breach Cases

We want to help as many people as possible to claim the compensation they might be entitled to. That’s why our data breach solicitors provide a No Win No Fee service.

When you get in touch, your case will be reviewed to see if it has a reasonable chance of success. If it does, we could appoint a solicitor to work with you. They will provide a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) for you, which is a formal term for a No Win No Fee agreement. It shows what they’ll need to do before you pay them.

There will be a success fee listed within the CFA. This is the percentage of the compensation that will be deducted if your claim is won. It is used to cover the cost of your solicitor’s time and expenses. Legally, success fees are capped for your benefit.

We are happy to review your case for free so that we can let you know if it is suitable for a No Win No Fee service.

Find Solicitors Taking On A Data Protection Breach Cases

If you have evidence of a valid claim and would like to find a data breach solicitor to help you, call our advisors. Our solicitors have been representing clients for years. They are registered with the Solicitors Regulation Authority if they work in England and Wales and only accept claims that they believe can be won.

Our solicitors provide an efficient service where they can process your claim online, over the phone and by email if you like. They can work for you from anywhere in the country. That means you won’t need to waste any time travelling to see your solicitors if you don’t want to. You can read some of our reviews if you’d like to know what other clients have said about us.

Please remember, for any claims they take on, our solicitors offer a No Win No Fee service.

Need To Talk To A Solicitor?

We’re here to help if you’d like to discuss a council data breach. Our advisors can be contacted in a number of ways including:

  • Calling 0800 073 8804 to speak with a specially trained advisor.
  • Sending an email to our staff at info@legalexpert.co.uk.
  • Using live chat to discuss your claim online.
  • Asking us to call you back by completing our claim online enquiry form.

When you call, we won’t put any pressure on you to take legal action. We will, however, assess your claim for free and provide legal advice on your options.

Resources Section

To help you further, we have linked some useful information and guides about similar data breaches.

The GDPR For Landlords – Information from the Welsh government on how the GDPR applies to landlords and agencies.

Anxiety – Details of how anxiety is diagnosed and treated by the NHS.

GDPR – Your Rights – Information on your rights under the UK GDPR.

Unauthorised Access To Medical Records – Advice on how to claim if you’ve suffered because data from your medical records has been leaked.

Social Services Data Breaches – This guide explains some of the scenarios that could lead to a claim against Social Services.

Loss Of Personal Data –  A guide on how you could claim if your data is lost by an organisation.

Other Guides That May Be Helpful

FAQs Data Breach Victims Have

In this part of our guide on what you could do after an Elmbridge Borough Council data breach, we’ve answered some questions on the GDPR.

What should you do after a data breach?

If your data is exposed by a data breach, you should not panic but keep an eye out for signs that your information is being used. A good practice is to change any passwords for accounts related to the breach. If financial data has been exposed, you should initially check your statements for fraudulent transactions.

What do the consequences of a data breach include?

If an organisation breaks the rules of the GDPR or the Data Protection Act, it can be investigated by the ICO. If they are found guilty, an enforcement notice could be issued. In more serious cases, a fine of up to £17.5 million pounds could be dished out (or up to 4% of the organisation’s global turnover.

What qualifies as a data breach?

A data breach is where personal information is accessed, disclosed, lost, changed or destroyed by an unauthorised party or in an unauthorised way. Breaches can be caused by illegal or deliberate actions. They can also result from accidental actions where an organisation fails to stick to GDPR principles.

How serious is a data breach?

While some data breaches are harmless, in other cases they can be very serious indeed. For example, if a school were to give out the address of a parent to their abusive ex-partner (as has happened), serious problems could ensue.

Thanks for visiting today and reading about what you could do following an Elmbridge Borough Council data breach. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

Written by Hambridge

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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