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Medical Records Data Breach By A Hospital – Compensation Guide

By Megan Black. Last Updated March 2024. This guide will explain what to do if a medical records data breach by a hospital causes you harm. We will also explain when you can claim compensation for a medical records data breach in the UK.

Hospitals that collect and process the personal data of UK residents must ensure that they follow the steps outlined by data protection law. In the UK, the two main pieces of data protection legislation are the UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA).

Medical records data breach by hospital

Medical records data breach by hospital claims guide

If they fail to do so, this could lead to a personal data breach that causes you harm. In this article, we will discuss who is eligible to claim for compensation and how your medical records could be affected by a personal data breach.

Contact our advisors today if you would like free legal advice and more help. If they find your claim to be valid, they may connect you with one of our data breach solicitors.

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What Is A Medical Records Data Breach By A Hospital?

Personal data is information that can identify a person. For example, your name, address and date of birth are all personal data. Health data, such as your medical records, is also personal data. Under the UK GDPR, data concerning health is special category data, which means that the data is sensitive in nature and requires special protections.

A hospital data breach is a security incident at a hospital which compromises the availability, integrity, or confidentiality of personal data. Under data protection legislation, a hospital can be both a data controller and a data processor. This means that they control how and why they use your personal data and can process it themselves or by hiring a third-party processor.

However, not all instances of a medical records data breach by a hospital will become a valid claim. The UK GDPR states who is eligible for data breach compensation by providing criteria that claims have to meet. These criteria include:

  • The data breach has to include your personal data
  • The data controller or processor must have caused the breach through wrongful conduct
  • You must experience either financial or psychological harm because of the data breach

Contact our advisors today to find out if you could be eligible to make a personal data breach claim.

How Long Do I Have To Claim For A Data Breach By A Hospital?

If you are eligible to pursue data breach compensation for a personal data breach by a hospital, you will also need to ensure that your claim is made within the correct limitation period.

Generally, you will have 6 years to start a claim for a medical data breach that compromised your personal data. This time limit is reduced to 1 year if you are making your claim against a public body.

If you have any questions about making a medical records data breach claim, you can contact our advisory team. They may also connect you with one of our No Win No Fee solicitors who could help you with various aspects of your claim, such as ensuring your case is filled within the correct time limit.

What Data Do Hospitals Hold On Patients?

Medical records and health records are terms for records that a healthcare provider will use to chart a patient’s medical history. A patient’s medical records their personal data, such as their name, date of birth or patient number. In addition, medical records can include information surrounding:

  • Past treatments
  • Prescriptions and medications
  • Health conditions and illnesses
  • Planned future treatments

As we have previously mentioned, health data is special category data. This means that hospitals must take extra care when handling and processing it due to its sensitive nature. Further examples of special category data that could be found in your medical records can include information regarding your:

  • Sexuality or sex life
  • Religious beliefs
  • Racial or ethnic origin

Our advisors can help if you have suffered harm as a result of a medical records data breach by a hospital. Get in touch today to find out more.

Examples Of A Medical Records Data Breach By A Hospital

There are many ways that a medical records data breach by a hospital can occur, from human error to cyberattacks. However, as we have previously mentioned, not all of these breaches will allow you to claim. This is because they must meet the criteria set out by the UK GDPR. Some examples of how wrongful conduct can contribute to a personal data breach include:

  • Misdelivery of data: For example, a hospital may send a fax of your medical records to the wrong person. Or, they may send an email containing personal data from your medical records to the wrong email address.
  • Verbal disclosure: Verbal disclosure could occur if a hospital employee discusses personal data from your medical records with an unauthorised person.
  • Outdated records: Hospitals must ensure that their records are kept up to date. If they fail to do so, medical records and other personal data could be sent to the wrong postage address.

To find out if you could make a claim for compensation after suffering a personal data breach, contact our team today.

How To Claim For A Data Breach By A Hospital

You may be wondering how to claim for a medical records data breach by a hospital. According to data protection law, if a breach could compromise your freedoms or rights, you should be notified without undue delay. Similarly, they must report it to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). The ICO is an independent UK body dedicated to upholding data protection law.

You can also contact the organisation responsible directly. They may be able to provide more information, such as what data was affected and how. But, if they don’t reply, or if the reply they provide is not satisfactory, you can make a complaint to the ICO.

The ICO does not offer compensation, and they do not handle compensation claims. As a data protection watchdog, they can investigate organisations and their data protection practices. If they find the organisation to be engaging in wrongful conduct, they may impose a fine.

You can also seek legal advice following a breach. Our team of friendly advisors can provide free legal advice and free consultation when you get in touch today.

Settlements For A Medical Records Data Breach By A Hospital

If a medical records data breach by a hospital has caused you harm, you could claim data breach compensation. This can be divided into material damage and non-material damage. Material damage aims to address the financial impacts of the breach. For example, you may have to take time away from work to recover from the effect the breach has on your mental health, which can lead to a loss of earnings.

Non-material damage aims to provide compensation for the psychological injuries caused by the breach. For example, if may suffer from stress due to a data breach, then you may be able to claim for this under non-material damage.

The Judicial College Guidelines (JCG) is a document that helps solicitors value compensation claims by providing guideline compensation amounts. You can see some examples of these figures in relation to non-material damage in the table below.

Injury To Mental Health Severity Payout Notes
Mental Harm Severe £54,830 to £115,730 There have been severe and significant symptoms affecting the ability to cope with all areas of life.
Mental Harm Moderately Severe £19,070 to £54,830 The overall impact will be similar but with a better prognosis than above.
Mental Harm Moderate £5,860 to £19,070 Symptoms show a significant improvement by the time the case is heard at trial.
Mental Harm Less Severe £1,540 to £5,860 The final settlement will consider the length of time affected and the way symptoms affect daily life.
Anxiety Disorder (PTSD) Severe £59,860 to £100,670 There will have been a severe negative impact on all areas of life with a poor overall prognosis and no ability to work or function as they would pre-trauma.
Anxiety Disorder (PTSD) Moderately Severe £23,150 to £59,860 There will be severe problems in the future, but there is a chance for some level of recovery with professional help.
Anxiety Disorder (PTSD) Moderate £8,180 to £23,150 A large recovery is achieved, with the only symptoms that remain being non-disabling.
Anxiety Disorder (PTSD) Less Severe £3,950 to £8,180 A virtually complete recovery can be achieved within 2 years, with minor symptoms continuing.

These figures are guidelines only and are not guaranteed amounts. Contact our team to for a free assessment of your claim for a medical records data breach by a hospital.

Begin A Data Breach Claim Against A Hospital

Our advisors can help you start your claim for a personal data breach in healthcare. To see if you meet the correct criteria to claim compensation, get in touch. An advisor will assess your case, and if you qualify to claim, they can connect you with a No Win No Fee solicitor to work on your case.

Our solicitors can provide their services and representation under a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). There are typically no ongoing or upfront fees to pay to your solicitor when you hire representation under a CFA. The only fee your solicitor will request will come if your claim succeeds. In this case, they will take a legally-capped success fee from your compensation award. But, if your claim is unsuccessful, they do not take this fee.

To learn more about how one of our solicitors could help you make a hospital data breach claim, contact our advisors today:

Learn More About Health Data Breach Claims

The following data protection resources may be helpful for you:

Or, for further resources:

Thank you for reading our guide to making a claim for a medical records data breach by a hospital.

Written by Chelache

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.

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