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Medical Data Breach Compensation Claims Guide

By Danielle Jordan. Last Updated 19th January 2024. Welcome to our guide on medical data breach compensation claims. Within this guide, we’ll answer questions such as ‘how much compensation for a data breach?’. We’ll also look at potential data breach compensation amounts by considering some data breach compensation examples.

When you visit medical facilities like a dental practice, GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital, you’ll probably need to provide information about yourself or update information that’s already held on file.

When you supply that information, it’s important that the medical service provider stores it safely and doesn’t use it in ways that you’ve not authorised them to. In this guide, we will explain when you could claim compensation for a medical data breach. We’ll consider what could cause one to happen, the harm that it could lead to and when you might be entitled to make a claim.

To learn more about medical data breach compensation claims, please keep reading. You can also watch our video which gives you the key points from the guide:

What Is A Medical Data Breach And How Do I Claim Compensation?

Following the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has been able to fine organisations that breach data rules. Below, we’ll provide some examples of penalties that have been issued after the misuse of medical data.

Our team of friendly advisors can help if you decide you’d like to make a claim. We provide free legal advice on any claim following a no-obligation assessment of what’s happened. If your case appears to merit compensation, you could be referred to a specialist solicitor who’ll work for you on a No Win No Fee basis if your claim is accepted.

To find out more about how Legal Expert can help, please call us on 0800 073 8804 today. Alternatively, you’ll find more information on medical compensation claims throughout the rest of this guide.

Medical data breach compensation claims guide

How To Claim Medical Data Breach Compensation

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What Is A Medical Data Breach?

Personal data is any information that could directly identify you, or could in combination with other information. Some examples of personal data include your name, home address, and national insurance number. Some personal data is classed as special category data. This is information that needs more protection as it is sensitive. Any data concerning your health is considered as special category data.

Any organisation that processes your personal data must adhere to the rules set out in the UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA). Together, these pieces of legislation make up data protection law. Per data protection law, any organisation that processes your personal data must take all the necessary steps to protect your data. Failure to do so could result in your personal information being involved in a breach.

A personal data breach is a security incident that affects the availability, confidentiality or integrity of your personal data. If you can prove that your personal medical data was involved in a breach due to an organisation’s failings, and you suffered harm as a result of the breach, you could be eligible to claim compensation.

What To Do After A Medical Data Breach

Following a medical data breach, you may wish to seek compensation. However, you must be able to prove that you meet the eligibility criteria for data breach claims. This is set under Article 82 of the UK GDPR as:

  • The breach must have occurred because the data controller or processor failed to adhere to the data protection legislation. A data controller determines why personal data needs to be processed and how to go about it. The processor then processes it on the controller’s behalf.
  • Your personal data must have been compromised in the breach. 
  • As a result of this breach, you must suffer harm. This could be a financial loss, such as credit or loans being taken out in your name, or damage to your mental health, such as anxiety due to the data breach.

If you suspect that your personal data was breached and haven’t received a letter of notification, you can alert the organisation yourself. You should be alerted by the organisation to the breach of your personal data without undue delay if it could risk your rights and freedoms. 

You may also like to report the breach to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). They are an independent authority that upholds data protection laws. As part of its role in protecting data rights, it can investigate certain data breaches and issue a fine. However, you should report the breach within three months of your last meaningful communication with the organisation. 

You could also collect evidence regarding the harm you have suffered due to the personal data breach. A copy of your medical records stating any mental injuries you have been diagnosed with could help with proving the psychological harm you have suffered. A copy of your debit, credit and bank statements could help prove the financial losses you’ve experienced.

If you have any questions about medical data breach compensation, speak with an advisor from our team.

Medical Data Breach Examples

In this section, we look at personal data protection breach examples which may lead to a data breach compensation claim. Below are some examples of a medical data breach.

  • Documents may be stolen because of poor security, resulting in lost medical records
  • A letter meant for you might be posted to the wrong home address resulting in someone gaining inappropriate access to your medical records. Potential causes for this type of data breach can include a human error by a staff member such as a care worker.
  • A computer might be targeted by malware resulting in medical records being stolen
  • Medical records may not be properly disposed of; for example they aren’t shredded
  • Information regarding your medical conditions may be emailed to the wrong email address so that someone without authorisation can see them

If you don’t see your situation here, you may still be able to claim. Speak to our advisors for a free eligibility check. If they feel your claim has a good chance of success, you could potentially be put through to one of our expert solicitors.

Compensation For Breach Of Data Protection – Evidence Examples

Data healthcare can be sensitive. It can pertain to many different aspects of a patient’s life, including their health, age, and even home address. Whilst you may be able to claim should a data breach impact you, you will need to prove that this is the case.

There are a few ways you can prove a data breach has happened and it has affected your life. Here are a few examples:

  • Emails – For instance, the hospital may have contacted you to notify you of a breach.
  • Letters – Your home address may have been distributed without your permission, leading to you receiving unsolicited correspondence from an unfamiliar source.
  • Bank statements – If your finances have been affected by the data breach.

Following a breach of the UK GDPR, medical records may be accessed or used in another unauthorised way. Make sure you check through your affairs to see which areas (if any) of your life have been impacted. Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions.

Who A Medical Data Breach Claim Could Be Made Against

Within the GDPR, the role of the data controller is defined as the organisation or individual who defines why your personal information is required and how it will be processed. Usually, the data controller will be investigated by the ICO if there is a breach, and they will usually be the party you would sue.  That said, it is also possible to claim against the data processor as well.

Here is a list of those who could be sued for a GDPR data breach:

  • GP surgeries.
  • Pharmacies.
  • Dental surgeries.
  • Hospitals or the NHS Trust which runs them.
  • Individual healthcare staff.
  • Private health companies.
  • Opticians.

To ensure your claim is directed at the right party, why not discuss what happened with one of our fully trained advisors today?

Medical Data Breach Compensation Examples

Compensation for medical data breaches can be awarded for two kinds of damage: material damage and non-material damage. Non-material damage refers to the psychological injuries you suffer as a result of a personal data breach.

For example, a personal data breach could cause depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. A medical data breach could also exacerbate pre-existing mental health illnesses.

When non-material damage compensation is valued, those valuing it may refer to the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG). The JCG provides those who value compensation claims with guideline compensation brackets for different kinds of injuries, including psychological injuries.

Below, you can find some examples of the guidelines included in the JCG, with the exception of the first entry.

Guideline Compensation Amounts

Injury Type Level of Severity Settlement Range Additional Notes
Severe Psychological Damage And Financial Losses Severe Up to £150,000+ This would include multiple instances of severe damage and financial losses.
Psychiatric Damage Generally The 4 factors considered when settling psychiatric damage claims are 1) The claimant’s ability to cope with life, education and work, 2) the effect on relationships, 3) whether treatment would be successful, and 4) future vulnerability.
Psychiatric Damage Generally Severe £54,830 to £115,730 The claimant will have marked problems with all four factors listed above and a very poor prognosis.
Psychiatric Damage Generally Moderately Severe £19,070 to £54,830 In this category, there will be significant problems with the factors listed but the prognosis will be more optimistic.
Psychiatric Damage Generally Moderate £5,860 to £19,070 In this category, most of the problems associated with the factors listed will have improved significantly and there will be a good prognosis.
Psychiatric Damage Generally Less Severe £1,540 to £5,860 This category considers how long any disabilities lasted and how long daily activities and sleep were impacted.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Severe £59,860 to £100,670 There will be permanent symptoms of PTSD in this category which could include hyper-arousal, suicidal ideation, flashbacks or mood disorders which will affect all aspects of the claimant’s life.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Moderate £8,180 to £23,150 In this category, the claimant will suffer significant disabilities for the foreseeable future but, with professional assistance, things should improve meaning there will be a better prognosis.

Material Damage Compensation

If you suffered financial losses as a result of the data breach, you may be able to recoup these losses under material damage compensation. For example, if you need to take time off work to recover from the psychological effects of the breach, material damage compensation could cover the cost of your lost earnings. Similarly, material damage compensation can cover the financial effects of identity theft caused by the breach, or stolen financial information.

To learn more about compensation in a medical information data breach, contact our team of advisors today. They can offer more information surrounding the data breach claims process.

No Win No Fee Solicitors For Medical Data Breach Claims

In the UK, medical data is considered special category data. If you suffered due your personal data’s inclusion in a health data breach, you might be eligible to claim compensation. A No Win No Fee solicitor could support your health data breach claim. They could provide their services under a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA).

Typically, in medical data breach claims made with the support of No Win No Fee solicitors, upfront solicitors fees aren’t charged. If your health data breach claim is successful, a legally capped success fee will be taken from the award. When a claim fails, the claimant typically is not asked to pay for the solicitor’s work.

Our advisors can answer any questions you may have about medical data breach claims. Should you have a claim that seems eligible, you could be passed on to our solicitors. To get in touch:

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Quick Data Breach Resources

Thanks for taking the time to complete this guide about making medical data breach claims. In this final section, we’ve provided you with some additional links and resources which we believe could be useful.

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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.