Halton Borough Council Data Breach Compensation Claims Guide
In this article, we are going to discuss when it might be possible to claim following a Halton Borough Council data breach. As you may be aware, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was introduced when The Data Protection Act 2018 was enacted into domestic law. As a result, when data breaches happen, they must be reported to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). If an organisation (or data controller) has broken the law, they could receive a monetary penalty from the ICO, but you won’t automatically receive any compensation.
Therefore, we’ll explain what action you would need to take if a local authority data breach causes you to suffer.
Data Breaches At Widnes Or Halton Council
Claims might be possible for anxiety, stress or depression as well as financial losses caused by data breaches. We will show how data breaches could occur, why you could claim compensation and what could be awarded. If you are thinking of seeking damages, Legal Expert could help you.
We have a team of experienced data breach solicitors who work on a No Win No Fee basis for any accepted claims. Why not call today to see if your case is eligible?
When you call, a specialist advisor will review your case on a no-obligation basis and you’ll be given free legal advice on your options.
- You can reach our team on 0800 073 8804.
- Write to us about your claim online
- Or chat with us now using our free chat service, bottom right corner
If you would like more information on claiming data breach compensation if your personal data is leaked before you call, please continue reading.
Select A Section
- A Guide To Claiming Payouts For A Data Breach At Halton Borough Council
- Data Security Statistics
- What Is A Data Breach At Halton Borough Council?
- What Does The UK GDPR Apply To?
- How Your Personal Data Could Be Affected
- Loss Of Planning, Housing And Social Care Data
- Reporting The Breach With The Information Commissioner
- Steps To Making A Data Protection Claim
- How Could I Be Compensated?
- Valuing Damages For Your Data Breach At Halton Borough Council
- Claim For A Data Breach At Halton Borough Council With Our No Win No Fee Service
- Why Legal Expert?
- Talking To Our Experts
- Other Services
- Some Of The Most Asked Questions About Claims
A Guide To Claiming Payouts For A Data Breach At Halton Borough Council
As technology has developed, many of us have become blasé about how our data is used. After all, the way in which data is used does make a lot of services easier to engage with and a lot quicker too. However, if that information were to get into the wrong hands, it could cause all sorts of problems.
Just think about what personal data is held by Halton Borough Council and you might be surprised. One of the reasons the GDPR was introduced was to give you (the data subject) some control over how organisations (data controllers) collect and process your information.
It is important for local authorities to hold personal data. Without it, their services would be very difficult to implement and things would become very disjointed. However, we’ll show you what rules they must follow to try and keep that information as safe as possible. If a data breach does occur, local authorities must let the ICO know about it in the same way that other organisations do.
As we progress, we’ll explain what could be included within a claim following a Halton Borough Council data breach, what you’d need to prove to be eligible to claim and how compensation amounts are decided.
If you are thinking of claiming, there is a 6-year time limit that applies when filing against private companies. Be aware though that claims against councils and other public bodies have a limit of only a single year. And various factors impact the timeframe, so we strongly advise you to speak to us ASAP to prevent losing your opporutnity.
Data Security Statistics
We are briefly going to look at data breaches that have been reported to the ICO in the first quarter of the financial year 2021/22. These figures should give some idea of the number of breaches that are reported.
For non-cybersecurity-related breaches, the main causes were:
- Data being emailed to the wrong recipient (40 reports).
- Personal data being faxed or posted to the wrong person (36).
- Failing to redact personally identifiable information (35).
For cybersecurity incidents within the 3-month reporting period the top 3 causes were:
- Ransomware (a type of computer virus) (5).
- Phishing methods (4).
- Denial of service attacks (3).
As you can see, the causes of breaches can be varied and numerous, but human error leads the race quite significantly. It’s, therefore, more important than ever for organisations to provide training to their staff on data security matters and to ensure their systems are able to prevent such mistakes from happening.
What Is A Data Breach At Halton Borough Council?
Let’s now look at what data breaches are. In the GDPR, they are listed as events or security incidents that cause personal data to be destroyed, changed, lost, accessed or disclosed to unauthorised parties without the data subject’s permission.
It’s important to note that you won’t be able to claim just because a data breach took place. You would also need evidence that shows how you have been harmed by the event. This might include financial losses or psychological injuries. Another important point is that if a council were to be the victim of a cyberattack, you would need to show that they had done something (or failed to do something) that allowed the attack to happen. For example, if the breach occurred because the council allowed unprotected devices on its network.
What Does The UK GDPR Apply To?
The GDPR applies to any type of personalised information that is collected and processed. Generally, it covers any information stored on computer systems as well as paper-based documents.
Before processing personal information, councils need to check that there is a lawful basis for doing so. If there is an alternative way of achieving the same outcome, a lawful basis won’t be established. The way that it could be achieved includes:
- Gaining consent by telling the data subject why their data is needed and asking for their permission.
- Where personal data is required to fulfil a contract.
- If there is a legal obligation to supply information such as the way employers must tell HMRC about staff wages.
- Where data is required to fulfil a public task that is in the public interest.
- If vital interests exist where the council believes that supplying information about you stops you from hurting yourself or somebody else.
- Legitimate interest is a phrase that covers the use of data where a data subject would reasonably expect it to be used in that particular way.
How Your Personal Data Could Be Affected
In this section, we’ll provide some examples of what sort of mistakes could lead to a local authority data breach. Importantly, not all actions will be deliberate or illegal. Some accidental errors could also entitle you to claim if the breach causes you to suffer. Here are some examples:
- If social services provide other organisations with information about their clients without consent.
- Where an unlocked computer terminal is visible in a public waiting area and personal information is left on the screen.
- If physical documentation containing personal information about council customers is not securely destroyed and ends up in the public domain.
- When sensitive information about you is emailed or posted to the wrong person.
- If a council officer loses an unencrypted portable device and it contains data relating to you.
Where data breaches are identified, the council needs to follow protocol and advise the ICO about the incident within 72-hours. Furthermore, they need to tell you about it without undue delay if the breach could pose a threat.
Loss Of Planning, Housing And Social Care Data
We are now going to think about what type of information a local council could hold about its clients. We can’t list everything here but the examples that follow should give you some idea:
- Tenancy agreements could contain personal information about you, your finances and your address.
- Identification documents may be retained during the application for a property such as scans of your passport or drivers licence.
- Rent statements could show your recent financial conduct as well as details about you and your property.
If any of these documents end up in the wrong hands, you could suffer from anxiety, distress or even post-traumatic stress disorder. Furthermore, you might lose money if your details are obtained by criminals. When that happens, you could be the victim of identity theft which could affect you for many years.
Reporting The Breach With The Information Commissioner
You might think that the easiest thing to do if you suffer because of a data breach is to head straight to the ICO. However, the ICO doesn’t have unlimited resources so you must follow the correct procedures before contacting them.
Initially, if you want to ask about a data breach at Halton Borough Council, you should raise a formal complaint with the local authority. You’ll need to wait for a response from them before deciding what to do next. If you don’t agree with their decision, you can escalate the complaint further.
After all possible routes have been exhausted, and no more than 3 months have passed since you last heard from the council, you could ask the ICO to investigate. An ICO report could provide vital information about when the breach happened, how it occurred and what information was leaked. Importantly, though, you don’t always have to follow this process to make a compensation claim.
Our team of solicitors understand the claims process and can sometimes reach an amicable agreement on your behalf without involving the ICO. We’d suggest that you call our team as soon as possible after you find out about the breach. If your claim is accepted, your solicitor will then advise whether it’s worth asking the ICO to step in.
Steps To Making A Data Protection Claim
So, to reiterate briefly, to seek compensation for the suffering caused by a data breach, we’d suggest that you:
- Gather any evidence that could support your claim. This includes any correspondence you’ve had from the council. Also, you could collect evidence of medical conditions that the breach has caused. Finally, it is a good idea to write a list of any financial losses, like loss of earnings.
- Call our specialist advisors to see if your claim has a reasonable chance of success.
How Could I Be Compensated?
Starting a data breach claim doesn’t just mean you ask to be paid a set amount of money to close the case. Instead, every penny you ask for needs to be justified and supported by evidence. Generally, claims are broken into two separate parts:
- Material damage – where you ask for compensation for expenses, costs and financial losses linked to the breach.
- Non-material damage – these are based on any psychological injuries you have sustained such as distress, anxiety or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
To give you an idea, if your bank details have been sold on the dark web by cybercriminals, you may need to claim back any money that has been stolen from your account. In the same way, if you have you’ve been diagnosed with anxiety since you found out about the breach, you could claim non-material damage. Evidence is required to justify this, however.
To obtain this medical evidence, you’ll be asked to attend a local medical assessment as part of the claim. This is so that an independent medical specialist can find out more about your injuries. They’ll ask questions and review your medical records to help with this. After they have finished, a report will be written detailing the extent of your suffering, linking it to the breach, and offering a prognosis.
We believe that having legal representation gives you the best opportunity to claim the right level of compensation. Our solicitor’s experience means they will always ensure they fully understand how you’ve suffered before filing your claim. Please call today if you’d like to know more.
Valuing Damages For Your Data Breach At Halton Borough Council
We now want to move on and look at what level of compensation can be awarded for non-material damage following a Halton Borough Council data breach. Any financial losses will need to be calculated later on an individual basis.
Guidance from the courts on valuing injuries caused by data breaches has pointed toward personal injury law for answers. We have therefore supplied data from the Judicial College in our compensation table, below, as that’s what’s used by personal injury lawyers when valuing claims.
|Claims||Severity Level||Compensation Bracket||Further information|
|Psychiatric Damage (general)||Severe||£51,460 to £108,620||The claimant will be given a poor prognosis as they will have problems relating to work, education and also life in general. In most cases, relationships anybody they come into contact with will be problematic and there will be risk that the victim will be vulnerable in the future as well.|
|Moderately Severe||£17,900 to £51,460||The victim's symptoms will be similar to those shown above. However, in this case, the prognosis will be more optimistic.|
|Less Severe||Up to £5,500||Settlements in this category will take into account how long the disability lasted and to what extent the victim's daily activities and sleep were affected.|
|Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder||Moderately Severe||£21,730 to £56,180||This settlement range is for where PTSD means the victim has significant disabilities for the foreseeable future but, with professional help, the prognosis will be better and some recovery will be expected.|
|Less Severe||£3,710 to £7,680||This category is used when the PTSD symptoms have just about fully recovered within a year or two.|
Please bear in mind that these are guideline figures only. Even if your case is successful there is no guarantee about how much you’ll receive in compensation. To see what your claim might be worth, please call our team today.
Claim For A Data Breach At Halton Borough Council With Our No Win No Fee Service
If you’re worried about losing money when claiming for a data breach, we can help. Our team of experienced solicitors offer a No Win No Fee service for all claims they accept. Essentially, that means there are no solicitor’s fees to pay at all unless you are compensated.
After your claim has been reviewed, you’ll be given a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) to sign if your case is accepted. The CFA, which is the formal title for a No Win No Fee arrangement, will list the criteria that need to be fulfilled before your solicitor is paid.
Within the CFA, you’ll see a success fee listed. This is a legally capped percentage of your compensation that will be deducted from any settlement your solicitor wins for you. This is the only time you would pay for the service. So if there is no successful outcome, there are no fees to pay.
Why Legal Expert?
Our team of solicitors have represented our clients in personal injury claims, medical negligence cases and data breach claims for many years. We only take on claims that we think we can win and that’s why we offer a No Win No Fee service. If you are interested in claiming following a Halton Borough Council data breach, why not read our reviews to see what others think of our service?
Any case we take on is handled online, over the phone and via email to keep everything as efficient as possible. You can rest assured over the quality of our work, though, as we’re registered with the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
Talking To Our Experts
If you’re ready to begin a compensation claim following a personal data breach, there are several ways to get in touch. You can:
- Call us free and ask for your case to be reviewed on 0800 073 8804.
- Ask for a call back by completing our online enquiry form.
- Send an email outlining your case to email@example.com.
- Use our live chat option to discuss your options with a specialist advisor.
In this section, we’re going to add some useful resources and links which could help you while you research your claim. Please let us know if you require any further information.
Lost Medical Records Claims – Advice on whether you can claim following a data breach in which your medical records were lost.
Reporting A Data Breach – Our guide on how to report a data breach and whether you need to do so.
Hotel Data Breaches – Information on how you could claim if a hotel data breach has caused you to suffer.
ICO Enforcement Action – A database of actions that have been taken by the ICO recently including financial penalties.
Anxiety UK – This charity can support you if you’ve been suffering from any type of anxiety.
NHS Mental Health Services – A portal to different services provided by the NHS.
Some Of The Most Asked Questions About Claims
Finally, we are going to answer a few common queries relating to GDPR data breach claims.
How many hours after a data breach should it be reported?
Where a company is aware of a data breach that needs reporting, it should contact the ICO without undue delay. At the latest, this should be within 72-hours of the incident.
Could individuals be held responsible for data breaches?
While a specific member of staff might cause a data breach to occur through their actions, the responsibility for any lost data will usually lie with the company (as they are the data controller).
What do hackers do with stolen data?
Hackers can use stolen personal data in various ways. One method that’s common is to ask for a ransom to be paid. This could be sent to the company responsible if the criminal thinks the company won’t want the breach identified or to an individual if they identify something particularly sensitive within the data they have stolen.
Thanks for reading our guide on claiming for a Halton Borough Council data breach. Please call us if you would like free legal advice on your options.
Guide by Hambridge
Edited by Billing