Hospital Mental Health Data Breach – Compensation Claims Guide

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Hospital Mental Health Data Breach – Case Study

Have you been impacted by a hospital mental health data breach? Did a clinic experience a data breach that involved your health data? Perhaps your personal data was faxed, posted or emailed to an incorrect recipient? Our guide offers information and advice on what you can do about this.

Hospital mental health data breach

Hospital mental health data breach

In the UK, the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA) and UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR) describe the legal responsibilities of all organisations to protect the personal data of the public. They also explain how you can seek compensatory damages if they fail to do this.

An independent body called the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) can act to enforce correct data protection standards for the public and, if necessary, issue penalties to the controllers and processors who mishandle your personal data.

These laws can help you put forward a claim for compensation. If you choose to work with a data breach solicitor, their experience can help you through this difficult time. To learn more, get in touch by:

Select A Section

  1. What Is A Hospital Mental Health Data Breach?
  2. Hospital Mental Health Data Breach Case Study
  3. How Could A Healthcare Data Breach Impact You?
  4. How To Claim For A Breach Of Healthcare Information
  5. Average Settlements For A Hospital Mental Health Data Breach
  6. Start Your No Win No Fee Claim

What Is A Hospital Mental Health Data Breach?

Personal data can be any piece of information that, when used alone or alongside other details, could identify or infer you as a living person. Personal data can range from:

In addition some personal data is classified under UK GDPR as special category. This is because it is considered sensitive and needs added protection. This covers:

  • Medical data
  • Ethnicity and racial details
  • Sexual orientation
  • Political, philosophical and religious beliefs

With this in mind, a hospital mental health data breach could involve the loss, destruction, theft, alteration of personal data in a security incident or the unauthorised access or unlawful disclosure of these details.

Generally organisations that say how and why personal data will be processed are known as data controllers i.e. a hospital or clinic. They can either decide to process the data internally or ask a data processessor to do this for them. Either way each entity must do all they can to protect personal data.

Any accidental or deliberate failure on their part to do so (known as positive wrongful conduct) could make them liable to compensate you for the financial and/or emotional harm the breach causes.

Hospital Mental Health Data Breach Case Study

In order for you to get a picture of how a breach of mental health data could affect a patient, we have provided a fictional case study below.

A patient was admitted to a hospital psychiatric unit after suffering from a psychotic episode.

The doctor that was treating the patient had the patient’s records stored on their laptop. The laptop was left unsecured and consequently was stolen. The data on the laptop contained the patient’s personal health information, including details of the medication prescribed to deal with the complex mental health issues. Contact information was also accessible.

Because of the breach, the symptoms of the bipolar disorder worsened. This significantly affected the patient’s health which went on to negatively affect the patient’s finances.

Healthcare Data Breach Statistics

The statistics below come from the ICO and show the prevalence of data security incidents in the healthcare sector compared to other sectors:

hospital mental health data breach data security trends

How Could A Healthcare Data Breach Impact You?

The stress of knowing your personal medical data was breached could result in a mental illness. The emotional distress could lead to anxiety, depression or even a worsening of any mental health conditions that you may already suffer from.

Personal data that gets breached has the potential to be accessed by online criminals who can use it to commit fraud or identity theft. The impact of this could create mental health issues.

In addition to this, there could be financial damage if funds are stolen from a bank account or fraudulent credit is set up in their name. Credit scores can be damaged.

Contact our data breach claims team to discuss your personal data breach claim today.

How To Claim For A Breach Of Healthcare Information

Even though you may have been affected by a data breach, this will not automatically mean you are eligible to make a personal data breach claim. There are a few things that will need to be proven first:

  1. You must be able to show that the data controller or processor failed in their obligation to adhere to data protection laws and take the necessary steps to protect your personal data.
  2. There was a data breach, and your personal data was involved in the breach, and
  3. You suffered harm, whether financially, mentally or both.

To take action to organise your claim for compensation, you may choose to:

  • Raise a complaint with the clinic concerned
  • If you are dissatisfied with their response, you can complain to the ICO
  • Wait no longer than 3 months since the date of the last meaningful discussion on the matter to pursue your complaint with the ICO. Beyond this date, they may consider the matter resolved.
  • Access your medical records to prove the emotional distress the data breach may have caused you.
  • Collect any evidence that proves your financial loss.
  • Connect with a data breach specialist if you wish.

For further help with this, please speak to our team.

Average Settlements For A Hospital Mental Health Data Breach

There is not exactly an ‘average’ compensation amount that can be applied to hospital mental health data breach claims. But there are two areas where it’s possible to calculate a figure to accurately reflect the harm. They both need evidence to support them.

Material damage refers to the actual financial costs that the data subject suffered because of the breach. This can be:

  • Funds needed to replace money stolen from your bank account
  • Debts created by credit card fraud or identity theft
  • The costs of additional psychiatric counselling to deal with the disruption

So with this in mind, it’s important to keep all bank statements and associated receipts. Any proof that directly relates to the current or future costs caused by the data breach can be considered.

In addition to this, non-material damage for the mental harm suffered. A data breach solicitor can use the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG) to value this head of your claim. You can see an excerpt below:

Description of Injury JC Guideline Awards & Severity Levels Supporting Notes
Psychiatric & Psychological Injury of a General Nature £54,830 to £115,730 – (a) Severe Degrees Marked and severe issues in all areas of the person’s life indicating a poor future prognosis.
As Above £19,070 to £54,830 – Moderately Severe Degree (b) A long-standing disability but more optimistic in prognosis than bracket above.
As Above £5,860 to £19,070 – (c) Moderate Degrees Similar issues that improve by the time the case may need to be heard at trial.
As Above £1,540 to £5,860 – (d) Less Severe Degree This considers the length of the disability and its potential to create anxiety or phobia issues.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) £59,860 to £100,670 – (a) Severe Level Permanent impacts that changes the person’s life considerably.
As Above £23,150 to £59,860 – (b) Moderately Severe Cases This award bracket indicates some improvement after professional help.
As Above £8,180 to £23,150 – (c) Moderate Cases An all round recovery with only minor issues persisting.
As Above £3,950 to £8,180 – (d) Less Severe Cases A virtually full recovery within a 1 – 2 year period and persisting issues being manageable in nature.

Please note that the amounts above are not guaranteed. But they show what could be possible. Free estimates of your data breach compensation claim are available from our data breach claims team.

Start Your No Win No Fee Claim

Why not speak to our team about how you could start your hospital mental health data breach claim with a solicitor?  If your claim seems like it might be eligible, you could be connected with our solicitors. Our solicitors can offer to work on your claim on a No Win No Fee basis.

Under a No Win No Fee agreement, such as a Conditional Fee Agreement, there are no upfront fees needed to hire your solicitor. You would be required to pay a maximum 25% deduction from any compensation awarded if the case wins.

Why not speak to our expert team right now:

Learn More About Hospital Mental Health Data Breach Claims

In addition to guidance on this topic, you can read more about data breach claims below:

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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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