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Psychiatrist Data Breach Compensation Claims

By Danielle Jordan. Last Updated March 2024. Have you suffered a psychiatrist data breach? Was your medical conditions involved in a data breach? Are you looking to make a claim for compensation?

In this guide, we are going to be looking at a data breach that involves the information given to a psychiatrist. This breach of data could include sensitive personal and private information and patient data. 

This guide also has information on the roles of the UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR), alongside the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) as well as the purpose of a No Win No Fee arrangement, and how it could be beneficial to you. 

Get in touch with us today to start your data breach compensation claim 

Psychiatrist Data Breach Compensation Claims

Psychiatrist Data Breach Compensation Claims

Select A Section

  1. What Is A Psychiatrist Data Breach?
  2. What Healthcare Information Is Protected By Data Laws?
  3. Possible Causes Of Healthcare Data Breaches
  4. How Could A Psychiatrist Data Breach Happen?
  5. How To Claim For A Psychiatrist Data Breach
  6. Psychiatrist Data Breach Compensation Calculator
  7. Begin Your Psychiatrist Data Breach Claim

What Is A Psychiatrist Data Breach?

A psychiatrist may collect lots of your personal information such as your name, address, DOB and other identifiable data. They may also document sensitive or special category data in relation to your mental health issues. All this personal data is protected by data security laws. So, if this data is breached because the psychiatrist failed under UK data protection laws to keep it confidential then you may be eligible to make a psychiatrist data breach claim.

Furthermore, it is important to note that there are time limits for starting a claim following a data breach. You have 6 years to start the proceedings, or 1 year if it involves a public body.

For more information on psychiatrist data breaches, don’t hesitate to contact our advisors. Furthermore, they are happy to help you through the process. They can offer advice and guidance on your claim.

Is Medical Information Covered By The UK GDPR?

Medical information is covered by the UK GDPR, along with all other personal and sensitive or special category data. The UK GDPR has a set of data protection principles that all data controllers, those who say how and why personal data is processed, need to follow to ensure that the data they collect is protected. It also makes use that the information is used fairly, lawfully and transparently. These principles are: 

  • Purpose limitation
  • Data minimisation
  • Accountability
  • Storage limitation
  • Integrity and confidentiality 
  • Accuracy 
  • Lawfulness, fairness and transparency

If a company or organisation fails to comply with these principles, it could be fined by the ICO. 

What Healthcare Information Is Protected By Data Laws?

Healthcare information is protected by the UK GDPR and the Data Protection Act 2018, in all forms. Health information is classed as special category data which means that it needs extra protection when being processed.  

There are 6 lawful bases that mean personal data can be processed: 

Consent: consent has been given for processing by the individual.

Contract: necessary for fulfilling a contract

Legal obligation: the processing is necessary for adhering to the law.

Vital interests: needed to protect someone’s life.

Public task: needed for the public’s best interest.

Legitimate interests: it is necessary for your legitimate interests unless there is reason to protect the individual’s personal data.

Possible Causes Of Healthcare Data Breaches

There are a number of ways a data breach can happen. It could be through either cyber or non-cyber means, as well as through human error

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is a non-departmental public body that governs data protection laws and rights for UK citizens. It offers advice and guidance on how to report a data breach as well as how to minimise the risk of a data breach. 

The causes and examples of how a data breach could occur: 

  • Unauthorised access If files have been sent to the wrong person, either by accident or deliberately, if that person doesn’t have the authorisation they shouldn’t have access to the data.
  • Phishing Attacks – By clicking on unfamiliar links within emails could lead to hackers being able to access data and potentially hold it to ransom or sell it. 
  • Loss/destruction of data – For cases that involve human error, these can be when a staff member loses or destroys a piece of data in a security incident. Either way, it could have a larger impact on the organisation or the data subject. 
  • Email Data Breach – If the company or organisation incorrectly inputs an email address and your personal data is sent to the wrong email.

The Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2021 has an overview of the latest statistics for the types of data breaches that have impacted the different sectors of business, schools and charities. 

To be eligible to make a psychiatrist data breach claim you must be able to prove that your personal data or sensitive data was involved in a breach. You need to be able to demonstrate that the breach happened because of failure to protect this information correctly and also that you suffered harm as a consequence.

If you require any further information or advice on the causes of a data breach, then please don’t hesitate to contact us for free advice and guidance. 

How Could A Psychiatrist Data Breach Happen?

There are various ways a psychiatrist data breach could occur. Some examples may include:

  • A therapy provider fails to update its cybersecurity systems, resulting in your personal data being stolen during a cyber attack.
  • A therapist’s office fails to properly lock away or secure paper files containing your personal data, resulting in them being accessed by an unauthorised person.
  • Your therapist verbally discloses your personal data to an unauthorised person without a lawful basis for doing so.

Remember, in order to make a claim for a psychotherapy data breach that compromised your personal data, you must be able to prove that the breach was caused by the organisation’s failings, and this caused you to suffer financially or mentally.

If you have any questions about personal data breach compensation claims, please get in touch with one of the advisors from our team.

How To Claim For A Psychiatrist Data Breach

You must have suffered harm to make a personal data breach claim. This could be financial harm following a breach that exposed your credit card details, or mental harm, such as suffering anxiety or PTSD.

If you suspect that your personal information has been involved in a data breach, you can contact the data controller. They should get back in touch with you and inform you whether this is the case and provide you with the necessary information. 

However, if the data controller doesn’t get back to you or the response is unsatisfactory, you could file a complaint with the ICO. They cannot provide compensation, but they may open an official investigation into the breach.

Psychiatrist Data Breach Compensation Calculator

The compensation calculator table below includes compensation brackets taken from a publication the legal system uses to value injuries and mental harm. However, it only looks at one type of damage you could be awarded in a successful claim. There are two types of compensation you could make a claim for: material damages and non-material damages. 

The Judicial College Guidelines (JCG) cover both physical and psychological injuries. However, the psychological injuries can overlap. The table below holds examples of the different types of mental health issues:

Types of Mental Health Issues How Much? Description
Psychiatric Damage Generally: Severe £54,830 to £115,730 With a very poor prognosis, there would be a large effect on day-to-day functioning.
Psychiatric Damage Generally: Moderately Severe £19,070 to £54,830 Significant problems that affect the person’s ability to cope with life.
Psychiatric Damage Generally: Less Severe £1,540 to £5,860 The length of time the disability has affected daily activities and sleep.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: Severe £59,860 to £100,670 Permanent effects which prevent a person from working or functioning at any pre-trauma level, all areas of life are impacted badly.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: Moderate £8,180 to £23,150 The injured person will have recovered, but there may be some continuing effects, but they aren’t disabling.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: Less Severe £3,950 to £8,180 A full recovery within two years and only having minor symptoms persisting over a longer period

Material Damages

Material damages is the term used for the financial losses you could have suffered as a result of a data breach. For example, this could include:

  • Fraudulent purchases
  • Debit/Credit purchases
  • Credit ratings decreased 

Non-Material Damages 

Non-material damages, on the other hand, are focused on the psychological effects that may have been caused by a data breach. The psychological damages could include:

  • PTSD
  • Anxiety disorders 
  • Depression 

In order to claim for non-material damages, you’ll be required to undergo a psychological/medical assessment. This assessment will be carried out by an independent medical professional and is to determine whether the psychological damage that you have suffered is having an impact on your life, along with the level of severity. 

In previous cases, you could only claim for non-material damages if you also claimed for material damages. However, after the Court of Appeal heard Vidal-Hall and others v Google Inc (2015), the court came to the decision that you could claim non-material damages without having to claim for material damages as well. 

For any further information on the types of damages, you could claim for a psychiatrist data breach, then don’t hesitate to contact us. Our advisors are on hand to help you with any questions or concerns you may have about the process. 

Begin Your Psychiatrist Data Breach Claim

It would be beneficial to obtain legal advice during the claims process, it could help clear any confusion. Going through the process of making a claim can be daunting, but with the help of our advisors and solicitors, could smooth out the process.

Conditional Fee Agreements (CFAs) are a type of No Win No Fee arrangement. It goes into detail about the terms of the agreement and what you can do. 

In short, it means that if your claim is successful, then you would pay a success fee to your solicitor. This success fee is capped by law, so you won’t be left out of pocket. However, if your claim is unsuccessful then you wouldn’t have to pay the success fee. 

If you are still concerned about whether you are eligible to make a claim for compensation, then contact us through: 

Our advisors are available to assist you with any questions you may have or clarification you may need. 

Health Data Breach Resources

Here is a collection of resources that could be useful following a data breach:  

Additionally, the ICO has guides and information on what you can do if a data breach occurs:

For any further information on the content of this guide on a psychiatrist data breach, please contact us through the live chat feature or our website. 

Guide By Welsh

Edited By Melissa.

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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.

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