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How To Make A Psychologist Data Breach Claim

By Cat Way. Last Updated March 2024. Are you looking at making a psychologist data breach claim? Are you wondering if you would be eligible to make a claim?  A breach of your personal data due to a psychologist can be a harrowing experience, especially if that data was sensitive, relating to mental health issues, for example. For some, it can lead to the breaking of trust and an unwillingness to seek out further help.

Psychologist data breach claims guide

Psychologist data breach claims guide

This guide will go through the ways in which the information you give to a psychologist can be involved in a personal data breach, as well as the how organisations such as the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), and legislation such as the Data Protection Act 2018 and UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR) play a part in preventing and holding companies accountable for data breaches. We will also offer advice on how a No Win No Fee arrangement could be valuable to you as you enter the claims process.

If you are unsure about where to start with your claim, then you can get in contact with us:

Select A Section

  1. What Is A Psychologist Data Breach Claim?
  2. Types Of Psychological Health Data
  3. When Could You Make A Psychologist Data Breach Claim?
  4. What Data Is Protected By The UK GDPR?
  5. How To Make A Psychologist Data Breach Claim
  6. Start A No Win No Fee Psychologist Data Breach Claim

What Is A Psychologist Data Breach Claim?

Psychologists work with people who suffer from psychological conditions, such as depression and anxiety.

A psychologist may collect a considerable amount of your personal information, such as your address, name, and date of birth. Personal data is any information that can identify you, whether directly or indirectly.

They might also keep sensitive information that relates to your mental health issues, such as your specific condition and any medications you could be on. All of this data could be impacted by a personal data breach.

Health Data And Special Category Data

Health data and special category data are protected under the UK GDPR as well as the Data Protection Act 2018. These work in tandem with each other and cover the ways in which personal data and information can be shared or used by data controllers and data processors.

A data controller is an organisation that decides how and why personal information is used. They sometimes use the services of data processors (organisations that process personal data on the controller’s behalf).

Types Of Psychological Health Data

Certain healthcare information is known as special category data. This means that it needs a larger amount of protection when being processed. The different types of health data could include:

  • Electronic health records
  • Prescriptions
  • Appointment notes
  • Image data – CT scans, for example

When Could You Make A Psychologist Data Breach Claim?

You could make a claim when you have proof that your data was compromised because the data controller failed to protect it. This could come from the organisation notifying you themselves, or through other means.

Examples of how a personal data breach could occur due to wrongful conduct include:

  • Unsecure physical records  If physical documentation or archived information has been incorrectly stored or left in an unsecured place, then a person with unauthorised access could read them as well as take photographs or simply take the files and distribute the information.
  • Theft of devices that contain personal data – If a member of staff has electronic devices stolen, such as stolen computers, any personal data that was unsecured on that device could be lost or sold.

What Data Is Protected By The UK GDPR?

Medical information is covered by the UK GDPR, along with all other personal and sensitive data. The UK GDPR has crafted a series of data protection principles that data processors and controllers need to follow to ensure that the personal data they collect and store is protected.

Special category information also includes data relating to:

  • political leanings and religious beliefs
  • sex life and sexual orientation
  • biometric data (where used for ID purposes)
  • your genetics
  • trade union membership
  • racial or ethnic origin
  • philosophical beliefs

How To Make A Psychologist Data Breach Claim

You must have experienced psychological harm or financial loss to make a personal data breach claim. This includes any financial harm that occurred following a breach, or mental harm, such as suffering anxiety or PTSD following the experience.

If you believe that your personal data was involved in a personal data breach, you can contact the data controller or processor responsible. They should respond and provide you with the required information.

However, if you haven’t received a satisfactory response from them, you could contact the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). You’d need to do so within 3 months of the organisation’s final unsatisfactory response to you.

The ICO is a public body that oversees laws for data protection and data rights. The ICO also has the ability to carry out investigations, as well as impose fines on those who are found to be in breach of data protection laws.

If you need further advice or guidance on how to make a psychological data breach claim, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Compensation Table

Material damages compensation and non-material damages compensation are the two types of compensation that you could claim when making a personal data breach claim. You can claim for both or either damages.

The Judicial College Guidelines (JCG) covers the psychological injuries that you suffer as a result of a personal data breach. These guidelines can be used by legal professionals when valuing injuries.

The compensation table below demonstrates examples of the different forms that mental health issues can take along with potential corresponding compensation brackets.

Types of Mental Health Issues Compensation Bracket Description
Psychiatric Damage Generally: Less Severe £1,440 to £5,500 This is depending on the length of time the disability has been going and the extent to which it has affected daily activities.
Anxiety Disorder: Severe £56,180 to £94,470 The permanent effects of symptoms that resemble PTSD could have an impact on the day-to-day function or the ability to work.
Psychiatric Damage Generally: Severe £51,460 to £108,620 In the most severe cases, people will be suffering from problems with the ability to cope with life and work.
Anxiety Disorder: Less Severe £3,710 to £7,680 Including symptoms that are similar to PTSD, there will be a full recovery in a period of two years. There would be some minor symptoms persisting over a longer period.
Psychiatric Damage Generally: Moderately Severe £17,900 to £51,460 Significant issues but the prognosis is better than more severe cases.
Anxiety Disorder: Moderate £7,680 to £21,730 Largely recovered, with some lingering PTSD-like symptoms
Psychiatric Damage Generally: Moderate £5,500 to £17,900 The prognosis will be good, but the person will have suffered significantly.
Anxiety Disorder: Moderately Severe £21,730 to £56,180 The effects have an impact on the person for the foreseeable future. It could have caused a significant disability.

 Non-Material Damages

Non-material damages are the mental health effects you have suffered as a result of a personal data breach. These could include mental issues such as:

  • Depression
  • PTSD
  • Anxiety

These are just to name a few examples. However, there could be other variations of psychological issues that may present as a result of a personal data breach.

The Court of Appeal heard the case of Vidal-Hall and others v Google Inc (2015). The decision was made that you could claim non-material damages without the need to also claim for material damages. This means that you could claim for one set of damages or both.

When claiming compensation for non-material damages, you’ll be asked to have a medical assessment. Its purpose is to establish if the damage you suffered was severe enough to have a lasting impact on your day-to-day life. The assessment can then be used as another form of evidence, potentially strengthening your claim.

Material Damages

Material damages, on the other hand, are the financial loss that you have experienced through a personal data breach. This could include your debit and credit card details being stolen, or bank account details being used in a fraudulent way. These could affect your credit rating and impact any future financial decisions you may make.

Any additional information on the different types of damages can be given by our advisors. They are on hand to help and support you as you go through the claims process.

For more information on how you could make a claim for a personal data breach because of a psychologist, don’t wait to contact us.

Start A No Win No Fee Psychologist Data Breach Claim

The psychologist data breach claims process might seem daunting. However, one of our experienced solicitors could help you claim personal data breach compensation on a No Win No Fee basis by offering a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA), provided you have a valid case.

When you enter into a CFA, you aren’t required to pay any fees to your data breach solicitor in order to access their services or for them to begin working on your case. Additionally, should your claim fail, then your solicitor will not take a fee for their services.

If your claim is successful, then your solicitor receives a success fee. This is a small percentage of your compensation which is legally capped.

Our advisors are here to help if you’d like to work with one of our solicitors on your personal data breach claim. When you contact our team, they can offer you a free consultation, where they will evaluate your claim and identify whether it could be valid. If it is, then they could connect you with one of our solicitors.

You can get started by:

Medical And Health Data Breach Resources

We have gathered a collection of resources for you to have a look through. These are linked below.

Furthermore, for more information on data breach claims and how the ICO can be a useful tool, see the links below provided:

For any further information on psychologist data breach claim, contact us via the live chat feature or our website.

Written by Welsh

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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