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I Suffered Stress Due To A Data Breach Am I Eligible To Claim Compensation?

By Cat Way. Last Updated 6th September 2023. Welcome to our GDPR data breach claims guide. This covers everything that you should know about making a data breach compensation claim. And this is generally the result of your stress due to a data breach. This guide offers guidance on the amount of GDPR data breach compensation you may receive, depending on the circumstances of your case.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is legislation introduced by the European Union (EU) in 2016. If you suffered from a GDPR breach, you could have grounds to make a compensation claim. To prove that data protection breach claims are valid, you must show you suffered harm because of a data breach. That applies whether the harm is in the form of distress, financial loss, or both.

GDPR data breach claims

GDPR data breach claims

Our guide to claiming compensation for stress due to a data breach provides essential reading on how to go about proving you were harmed in some way. We explain what a data breach entails and how this could negatively impact you emotionally and financially.

Further details

This data protection breach claims guide also covers the various types of privacy breaches. And it outlines what could occur when a failure to comply with UK data protection laws happens.

We’ll provide advice on making a complaint to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) about a data breach and how much a successful claim may be worth. We also provide info on what could be included in a data breach claim. This guide includes details on how you could benefit from the services of a No Win No Fee solicitor. This includes not needing to worry about upfront legal fees or ongoing fees either.

Please continue reading our guide to find out more about claiming compensation if you suffered stress due to a data breach. If you would like to discuss a compensation claim that is data breach-related with one of the Legal Expert advisers, please get in touch today.

You can contact an advisor in the following ways:

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A Guide To Claims For Stress Due To A Data Breach

Welcome to our GDPR data breach claims guide.

If a data breach negatively impacted you, whether it caused you distress or financial loss, you could have the right to seek compensation for the harm you were caused. Our guide explains what evidence you need to prove that you were harmed in some way due to the breach, whether you suffered stress, financial losses, or both.

We explain what a data breach is and how you could be negatively impacted emotionally and financially when this happens. The guide offers advice on how emotional distress caused by a data breach would be assessed. We provide information on the different sorts of data protection or privacy breaches that might occur and could have a detrimental effect on you.

We offer advice on the time limit associated with this type of claim, which is 6 years for a data breach or 1 year for a breach of human rights. The guide also covers what would happen if a failure to comply with the GDPR and how you could make a data breach complaint to the ICO. We offer advice on the sort of compensation you could be awarded, and we provide an idea of how much a successful data breach distress claim may be worth.

The guide provides information on what a Conditional Fee Agreement is and how you could benefit from the legal services of a No Win No Fee solicitor when making stress due to a data breach claims.

If you would like to discuss your case with a member of the Legal Expert team, please call an adviser today.

What Is Emotional Distress Caused By A Data Breach?

You might have the right to seek compensation under GDPR if you were the victim of a data breach that caused you distress. When you make a data breach-related claim, a court will assess specific circumstances relating to your case while at the same time factoring in other considerations. This would include the following:

  • The nature of the data breach/disclosure
  • The sensitivity of the data that was disclosed

The amount of GDPR data breach compensation awarded by a court would be based on the level of psychological and psychiatric distress the data breach caused you. The court would also highlight a breach of the Data Protection Act or a more serious invasion of privacy that is deemed deliberate was involved in the breach.

For a data breach claim to be valid, you must prove the breach caused you to harm either financially and/or emotionally. To find out whether you could have valid GDPR data breach claims, please speak to a Legal Expert adviser today.

Types Of Data Protection Or Privacy Breaches

Data breaches can happen in any organisation, industry, business, school, or government department and bank. However, service-based industries are most targeted due to the direct contact with the general public.

All of the following may have experienced data security breaches over recent years:

  • Mobile phone networks
  • Retailers
  • Banks
  • Tech companies

A data breach could be if:

  • Personal data/information was mishandled or misused.
  • Hackers found private information.
  • Personal information was inadvertently leaked or lost
  • An organisation used your private data without your express permission
  • Corporate data was breached, and their banking information or other vital private data were leaked
  • Personal information was sent to a third party, and you did not authorise this to be done
  • An organisation did not keep up-to-date and accurate data about you, which as a consequence caused you harm

To speak to a Legal Expert about data protection breach claims, please contact one of our advisers today. You would be offered a free, initial, no-obligation consultation, which allows an advisor to assess your case before offering advice on how best to proceed.

Failures To Comply With GDPR

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a law that the European Union (EU) passed, a set of rules that govern how peoples’ personal data should be managed. This regulation came into effect in 2016, and anyone that violates its privacy and security standards may receive harsh fines or sanctions.

If you believe your personal information was breached and you could like to know if you have a valid claim, please contact a Legal Expert adviser today. To learn more about how to make GDPR data breach claims, please read on.

How To Make A Data Breach Complaint To The ICO

If you fell victim to a data breach, you have the right to complain with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) before making data protection breach claims. However, there is a procedure to follow, which is detailed below:

  • Contact the organisation responsible for the data breach
  • If you do not get a response, or the response you receive is inadequate, as a last resort, you have the right to file a complaint with the ICO

It is worth noting that you are not required to file a complaint with the ICO, and if you have not had meaningful contact with the organisation responsible for the data breach, you have the right to seek legal advice.

It is also noteworthy that the ICO would not investigate a case if there were an undue time delay in contacting them about a data breach. As such, you must raise your complaint to the ICO within 3 months of the data breach.

Please be aware that the ICO does not award compensation.

To discuss your case with a Legal Expert adviser, please contact a member of our team today, so your case can be assessed and free legal advice provided on how best to pursue your data breach compensation claim.

What Evidence Do I Need To Support My Data Breach Claim?

To claim data breach distress compensation, you will need to provide evidence that confirms that your personal information has been involved in a data breach, and due to this, you suffered psychologically and financially. You also need to establish that the data breach was caused by a data controller or data processor’s positive wrongful conduct.

Examples of evidence that may support your claim include:

  • A notice letter from the organisation responsible for the data breach stating that your personal data has been compromised and what information was involved in this breach.
  • Any correspondence with the organisation responsible regarding the breach.
  •  A copy of your medical records that confirm the psychological injuries you have suffered and when you were diagnosed with them.
  •  If you report the breach to the ICO, and they decide to investigate it, their findings could be used as evidence.

For more information on whether you can claim compensation for a breach of data protection that saw your personal data compromised, you can contact our advisors today. After discussing your case with our advisors, they may connect you with one of our solicitors if they believe you have a valid claim.

Data Breach Distress Compensation – What Damages Can Be Claimed?

As we already looked at, under the UK GDPR, compensation for distress could be awarded. In addition to claiming for your mental health harm, you could potentially recover any financial losses caused by the breach of your personal data.

You could be awarded material damage to reimburse financial losses. Whereas non-material damage compensates for your mental health harm.

If you wish to make an anxiety data breach claim, you no longer need to include financial losses in the same claim. This is due to the 2015 Court of Appeal ruling in the Vidal-Hall and others v Google Inc. case. Prior to this, you would have needed proof that the data breach caused you to suffer financial harm too.

If you are claiming for emotional distress, your mental health harm will be valued in the same way as a personal injury claim. This is because of the ruling in the 2015 Gulati and Others v MGN Limited case. Legal professionals use a document called the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG) to help them assign value to injuries. It contains a list of injuries, including mental health damage, along with guideline compensation brackets.

As we stated above, your data breach distress compensation may also include material damage. For example, if the compromise of your personal data enable access to your bank account, a third party may have spent your money. Recovery of this could be included in your award. However, you will need to supply evidence.

Call our advisors to further talk about what damages could be awarded. In addition, they can give your claim a free valuation.

Breach Of UK GDPR – How Compensation For Distress Is Calculated

In the section above, we explained the different kinds of compensation you could claim after a breach of the UK GDPR. But compensation for distress and for financial losses are calculated differently.

Non-material damage compensation can be calculated with help from the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG). The JCG offers guideline compensation brackets for psychological injuries of differing severities. You can find some examples of the amounts listed in the 16th edition of the JCG in the table below. Please note that these are guideline amounts only, and are not guaranteed.

Injury typeSeverity of suffering
NotesCompensation Awarded based on Judicial College Guidelines
Psychiatric Damage
SevereThe person will have problems with future vulnerability and their daily life. Prognosis will be very poor.£54,830 to £115,730
Psychiatric Damage
Moderately SevereSerious issues with coping with life but there is a more optimistic prognosis.£19,070 to £54,830
Psychiatric Damage
ModeratelyMarked improvements will have been made despite suffering with various issues.£5,860 to £19,070
Psychiatric Damage
Less SevereVarious factors such as how sleep was affected, will impact the amount awarded.£1,540 to £5,860
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
SevereThere will be permanent effects which will stop the person functioning as they did pre-trauma.£59,860 to £100,670
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Moderately SevereThere is some room for recovery with professional help. But, they will still suffer with a significant disability for the foreseeable future.£23,150 to £59,860
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
ModerateA large recovery has been made with any persisting effects not being majorly disabling.£8,180 to £23,150
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Less SevereA virtually complete recovery will have been made within 1-2 years.£3,950 to £8,180

Material damage compensation is unique to every claimant. This is because, as mentioned above, this head of claim tackles the financial losses of the breach. Because of this, we can’t offer any average or guideline figures for material damage compensation.

For more help with compensation in data breach claims, contact our team. One of our advisors can evaluate your claim for free.

No Win No Fee Claims For Stress Due To A Data Breach

When you contact a member of the Legal Expert team, you would be offered an initial consultation for free. This first consultation allows one of our experts the chance to assess your data breach claim. Then, if your case is valid with a strong chance of success, you receive No Win No Fee terms. You’re under no obligation to pursue a claim if you decide not to after this initial consultation.

However, when proceeding with your data breach claim, you must sign a Conditional Fee Agreement. This legal contract between you and the solicitor sets out the Terms and Conditions of the agreement.

It also sets out the percentage you pay the No Win No Fee solicitor, the ‘success fee’. You only pay this fee when you receive data breach compensation. Should your case of compensation for breaches be unsuccessful, you would not have to pay the success fee to the solicitor. That’s because they sign the CFA with you.

Start A Claim

If you are ready to begin GDPR data breach claims for yourself, please don’t hesitate to contact a member of the Legal Expert team today.

You can contact an advisor in the following ways:

Data Breach Solicitors

Regardless of where you’re based, we can help you claim data breach compensation. Please see below for some of our dedicated guides:

Police Data Breaches

In terms of real-life examples, a significant breach occurred in March 2023 when Capita, which administers the pension funds for dozens of organisations, suffered a cyber attack, including some of the biggest funds in the country. For more advice on the Capita data breach and compensation claims, head here

Quick Links

If you would like more information on the Data Protection Act, please click on the link provided below:

For more information on filing a complaint with the ICO, please follow the link below:

To learn more about how No Win No Fee claims work, please click on the link below:

For more information on how to make a successful personal injury claim, please follow the link provided below:

You can also check out these guides related to data breaches and claiming compensation for such breaches:

Thank you for reading our guide about GDPR data breach claims and GDPR data breach compensation.

If you still have any questions regarding data protection breach claims, you can contact us online or phone us on 0800 073 8804

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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.