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Medical Data Breach Compensation Claims Guide

By Danielle Jordan. Last Updated 11th June 2024. 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. If this data gets exposed, causing you damage, you could make a medical data breach compensation claim.

Below, we explain the process of making a data breach claim following a breach of medical data. However, if you’d rather speak with us now to get legal advice, you can message us via our live chat or call our free helpline on 0800 073 8804 today.

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:

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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.

Continue reading our guide to see when you may be eligible to make a claim. You can also contact our advisors with any questions you may have.

Can I Make A Medical Data Breach Compensation Claim?

As previously mentioned, any organisation that processes your personal data must adhere to the rules and regulations set out within the UK GDPR and the DPA. This is because, together, they form data protection laws.

To be eligible to make a medical data breach compensation claim, you would need to prove the following:

  1. A data breach occurred due to an organisation failing to comply with data protection law.
  2. Your personal data was compromised in this breach.
  3. Due to the personal data breach, you suffered financial loss, mental harm, or both.

To see whether you may have a valid case or for a free valuation of the potential medical data breach compensation amount you could receive for your case, you can contact one of the friendly members of our advisory team.

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.

a doctor discussing medical data breach compensation claims

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.

How Can I Prove The Medical Data Breach Happened?

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 impacts 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 Can I Make A Medical Data Breach Claim 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 Amounts And 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, 17th edition, published in 2024). 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 TypeLevel of SeveritySettlement Range
Severe Psychological Damage And Financial LossesSevereUp to £250,000+
Psychiatric Damage GenerallySevere£66,920 to £141,240
Moderately Severe£23,270 to £66,920
Moderate £7,150 to £23,270
Less Severe£1,880 to £7,150
Post-Traumatic Stress DisorderSevere£73,050 to £122,850
Moderately Severe£28,250 to £73,050
Moderate£9,980 to £28,250
Less Severe£4,820 to £9,980

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:

Use our live chat at the bottom of the screen.

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 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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