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HIV Data Breach Compensation Claims Guide

In this guide, we’ll discuss how you could receive HIV data breach compensation after a medical data breach affects your personal data. We’ll explore the data breach claims process and what steps you could take after a HIV status data breach.

HIV data breach

HIV data breach claims guide

HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus which attacks the immune system and may later develop into AIDS. An individual’s HIV status is confidential information protected by the Data Protection Act 2018 and the UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR). 

Additionally, this legislation sets out how organisations, such as a sexual health clinic, should handle data concerning your health. We will discuss how this legislation protects your data, along with the eligibility criteria it sets out for potential claims. 

Before we begin our guide, you might be interested in a free consultation of your claim. Our advisors offer friendly legal advice and could connect you with one of our solicitors.

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What Is An HIV Data Breach?

A HIV data breach is a type of security incident that may involve both personal data and special category data. As defined by the ICO, a personal data breach is a security incident in which the confidentiality, integrity, and accessibility of your personal information may be impacted.

Personal data is any information that may identify you. Medical clinics may hold data such as your:

  • Your name
  • Postal address
  • Email address
  • Phone number
  • Email address
  • Date of birth

Clinics also store special category data, which is personal data that is regarded as more sensitive. Therefore, data controllers and processors should take extra security measures to protect this information. 

Special category data that a clinic may hold can include:

A data controller, such as a health clinic, decides why and how they use your personal data, whereas a processor processes information on the controller’s behalf. Wrongful conduct needs to have taken place on behalf of the controller or processor in order for you to claim.

Additionally, if this wrongful conduct led to a data breach in which your personal data was affected, and you suffered financial loss or psychological harm, you may have grounds for a valid claim. However, it is crucial that you can prove an organisation was responsible for keeping your data secure but failed to apply the appropriate safeguards. 

Our advisors can clarify the legitimacy of your claim as part of a free consultation when you get in touch today.

What Was The 56 Dean Street Clinic HIV Breach?

The 56 Dean Street HIV data breach occurred in 2015 when the HIV status of nearly 800 patients was compromised after a newsletter was sent to patients without using the BCC (blind carbon copy) feature. This feature anonymises the email addresses of recipients in batch emails. In failings to use this feature, the clinic allowed the email addresses of the recipients to be exposed.

The clinic, which is run by the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, was then investigated by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and issued a £180,000 fine after being found in a “serious breach of law”.

(Source: )

If you have been affected by a clinic data breach, speak to our advisors. They can offer free legal advice and a free consultation of your claim.

How Did This Data Breach Happen?

The data breach occurred when patients were supposed to be blind carbon-copied into an email. However, due to a human error where a failure to use the BCC feature occurred, the email was sent out with the recipient’s addresses exposed.

Subsequently, recipients of the email could see each other’s personal information, such as names and email addresses. Given that the clinic dealt specifically with HIV patients, there were concerns that the breach could potentially expose hundreds of patients’ HIV status.

Rates Of Medical Data Breach Events 

According to the latest data security incident trends reported by the ICO, the health sector dealt with 427 reported data security incidents in Q4 2021/22.

Unauthorised access to personal data was found to be the most common incident type outside of other non-cyber incidents. Other common incidents included a loss or theft of paperwork and data being emailed to the incorrect recipient.

If you have been affected by an HIV data breach caused by an error, for example, loss of medical records, our solicitors could help. Contact our advisors today for more information.

How Does A HIV Status Data Breach Claim Work?

If an HIV data breach occurs that could affect your rights or your freedoms, the organisation should inform you without undue delay. However, you may also suspect a breach without their notification. In this situation, you should inform the organisation of your concerns.

If the organisation does not give you a satisfactory response, you might file a complaint with the ICO. It’s worth noting that you should take this action within three months of learning of the HIV status data breach. The ICO may then investigate the suspected breach and issue a penalty if they believe it is necessary.

Additionally, the ICO advises that you should seek independent legal advice when claiming compensation. Our advisors can provide free legal advice and further help when you contact our team today.

What Could You Claim For An HIV Data Breach?

There are two heads of claim you might seek compensation for following an HIV data breach:

  • Material damage: This relates to any financial losses inflicted by a breach. For example, if you need to take extended time off work to deal with the psychological impact caused by the breach, you may suffer a loss of earnings. 
  • Non-material damage: This accounts for any emotional harm that is caused by a breach and includes psychological injuries such as post-traumatic stress disorder.

Using the Judicial College Guidelines, a legal document used by solicitors to calculate non-material damage based on awards given in previous personal injury cases, we are able to give you a broad estimate of what you could potentially receive in terms of non-material damage.

InjuryCompensation RangeNotes
Severe Psychiatric Damage Generally£54,830 to £115,730There are severe and permanent issues in coping with daily life.
Moderately Psychiatric Damage Generally£19,070 to £54,830It is a struggle for you to work or maintain relationships with family and friends.
Moderate Psychiatric Damage Generally£5,860 to £19,070The prognosis is more optimistic than the above due to an improvement of symptoms by the time of trial.
Less Severe Psychiatric Damage Generally£1,540 to £5,860This bracket depends on the length of disability, along with the impact on daily activities.
Severe Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder£59,860 to £100,670Working is impossible, and all aspects of daily life are detrimentally impacted.
Moderately Severe Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder£23,150 to £59,860Similar to the above, with a slightly better prognosis due to some chance of recovery through professional help.
Moderate Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder£8,180 to £23,150Any continuing effects are not majorly disabling.
Less Severe Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder£3,950 to £8,180A full recovery is expected within two years, with only minor symptoms remaining.

The personal data breach compensation calculator table above contains guideline figures only. Contact our advisors today to find out more about compensation in personal data breach claims.

No Win No Fee HIV Data Breach Claims

Our No Win No Fee solicitors may be able to help guide you through the claims process with the help of a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). With a CFA, you generally do not need to pay ongoing costs or upfront fees. If your claim succeeds, you will pay a success fee. This fee is a percentage of your compensation with a legal cap. But, if your claim does not succeed, you do not pay this fee.

Our advisors can evaluate your claim, and if it is valid, they may connect you with one of our data breach solicitors.

You may use the following methods to get in touch with us:

  • Call at any time on 0800 073 8804
  • Complete the form above to request a free call back
  • Or contact us and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can

Related Data Breach Claims

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Get in touch today to learn more about making an HIV data breach claim.

Written by Jennings

Edited by Hampton

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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.