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Social Services Data Breach Compensation Claims Guide – How Much Compensation Can I Claim? – Amounts For Social Services Data Breach

The Social Services Breached My Data Privacy, Could I Claim Compensation?

This article is going to explain why you might need to make a social services data breach claim. In the past few years, the rules regarding the protection of personal data have changed because of the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (or GDPR as it is more commonly referred to). This European legislation was enacted into British law by The Data Protection Act 2018.

The GDPR rules were designed to provide more control to individuals over who has access to their personal data, how it’s stored and who it is allowed to be shared with. In many cases, data is collected and processed by social services departments across the country without any issues. However, we’ll look at how mistakes could cause a data breach and why you might be allowed to claim data breach compensation.

Social Services data breach claims guide

Social Services data breach claims guide

If you’ve decided that you’d like to seek compensation for a social care data breach, then we could help you. Our specialist advisors provide a no-obligation assessment of any claim and can explain your legal options for free. If the claim appears to have good grounds, your case could be passed to one of our specialist solicitors. Should they accept your claim, it will be handled on a No Win No Fee basis.

If you’d like us to help you claim compensation for a social services data breach, please call our team on 0800 073 8804 today. To find out more about the claims process before speaking to us, please continue reading.

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A Guide On Social Services Data Breach Claims

Social services have an obligation to promote the health and welfare of vulnerable adults and children across the country. They do so by providing many different services which are coordinated by a social worker. In many cases, the information held by social services is personal and often sensitive. Therefore, under GDPR, it needs to be kept safe and secure so that it doesn’t end up being leaked, which in turn could put service users or their families at risk.

The element of control that GDPR provides is usually carried out at the start of your journey with an organisation like social services. When you register for their services, you’ll often be asked if your information can be shared with others. For instance, they may ask if your information can be shared with your GP, a member of your family or mental health services. Once you’ve completed the GDPR exercise, it’s important that social services respect your requests and only provide your data to those people you’ve approved.

If you decide to start a claim, we should inform you that there is a 6-year time limit in which a claim needs to be submitted. This time limit falls to 1-year for claims relating to breaches of human rights. This is a long time, but our advice is that it’s usually easier to recall how you were affected by a data breach in the immediate months after you found out about it. Also, starting early will mean that your solicitor will often find it easier to gather supporting evidence.

Later on, we’ll explain how the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) can issue fines to organisations who breach the GDPR rules and how that could help you make a claim. As you continue, please remember that you can call us if you have any additional queries.

The GDPR And Data Protection In Social Care

The GDPR is an 88-page document containing rules on how and when personal information can be processed. Within the documentation, a number of roles are defined relating to data-handling. Some of the key roles include:

  • A data subject – this will probably be the service user in this instance.
  • The data controller – this is the organisation that determines the purposes for which, and the methods in which, personal data is processed.
  • The data processor – an organisation who processes information on behalf of the data controller.

Data processing is bound by several key principles including:

  • The data subject needs to be informed of the legitimate purpose behind their data being processed.
  • Processing should be lawful, fair and transparent to the data subject.
  • Data is only allowed to be stored for the period specified at the time of collection.
  • Any personal data which is processed should be kept up to date.
  • A minimum amount of data should be processed to complete the objectives specified.
  • Processing should be confidential and secure. That may mean data needs to be encrypted in some way.

The data controller needs to be able to demonstrate adherence to the principles outlined above and, if using an external data processor, they should ensure they are fully compliant.

If you believe you’ve been affected by a privacy violation and would like to find out if you’ll be able to claim compensation, please speak to an advisor today.

How Could A Social Worker Or The Social Services Breach Data Privacy Laws?

It’s common for people to think of data breaches being caused when a computer or network is hacked, or cybersecurity is bypassed in some way. While that could happen, the more likely cause of a data breach is human error which could include technological mistakes or relate to information held on pieces of paper.

When a data breach occurs, which leads to some form of harm, you may want to consider beginning a compensation claim against the social services department who was responsible.

Examples of social services data breaches that could occur include:

  • Where your data was given to another organisation who you hadn’t authorised to see it.
  • If a social worker loses their notes, diary or other documentation which contains personally identifiable details.
  • When an ex-employee still has a password to social services systems and views private information.
  • If the local authority’s computer systems are affected by malware, viruses or ransomware.
  • A member of staff viewing your records when they have no requirement to do so.

On occasions, social services might not become aware of the fact a data breach has happened. However, in cases where they find out about a breach, they are duty-bound to tell you, as well as the ICO, if there is a potential for the leak to cause you harm. They should let you know when it happened, how it occurred and what information was viewed.

We could help you claim if you’ve been affected by a social worker’s data protection breach so why not contact us today and let us know what happened?

Reporting Data Breaches By Social Care Authorities Or Workers

In this section, we’re going to look at how you’d go about raising concerns about information handling practices within the social services department.

If you suspect that the local authority is not keeping your information secure, has old or inaccurate information about you, is retaining information longer than needed, has disclosed your personal information or is using your data in ways you’ve not approved, you could make an official complaint about your concerns.

In the first instance, you could write directly to the department involved and explain what concerns you have. You should provide reasons for your concerns and examples of things that you think were done incorrectly.

Advice from the ICO suggests that you should:

  • Raise a complaint quickly while the events are still fresh in everybody’s minds.
  • Ensure the complaint goes to the correct department.
  • Keep the language simple and write legibly.
  • Make sure you provide specific information.
  • Don’t make personal allegations and be reasonable.
  • Keep good records of what’s happened.
  • Include all of the information necessary.
  • After any ‘final’ response, make sure there are no other routes for escalating the complaint before approaching the ICO.

If you’ve exhausted all possible routes of complaining within social services, you could decide to take the matter to the ICO. They will review what’s happened and read the responses provided to your initial complaint.

If they think that there is an opportunity to improve information handling within the organisation, they may take action.

How To Sue The Social Services For Breaching Your Data Privacy

If you’re considering making a claim against social services, the process can become quite complex. As you’ve read in the previous section, there may be a number of escalation routes to follow if you’re not happy with the response you receive. Each of these steps will obviously take time and it’s only when it’s been 3-months since you last had meaningful contact with social services that you can escalate your complaint to the ICO.

However, what we’ve not explained so far is that even if the ICO agree with your complaint, they won’t issue you with compensation. All the ICO is able to do is publish its findings and fine the department where necessary.

The only way you’ll receive compensation is if you raise a case against the department in question yourself. Due to the complexity of this process, our advice would be to seek legal representation. A solicitor could negotiate on your behalf to try and reach a settlement for your claim without requiring ICO intervention. In other cases, they may advise taking the more formal route to help understand the full impact of what’s happened.

If you contact Legal Expert, an advisor will review your claim with you. If the claim is passed to one of our specialist solicitors, they’ll consider what attempts you’ve made to resolve the matter already and work out how to proceed with your claim. Please contact us today if you’d like free advice on your options.

How You Could Be Compensated By Social Services For Breaches Of Your Data Privacy?

Now we’ve answered the question, “What do you do if you are a victim of a data breach?”, it’s now time to take a look at what compensation can be claimed for and, in the next section, how much you might receive.

In most cases, the type of compensation your solicitor might request includes:

  • Material damage, which is where you’ve suffered some form of financial impact because of the data breach.
  • Non-material damage, which is where you’ve suffered from stress, anxiety or other psychological injuries because of the breach.

The list of different elements to a claim is quite long and what you can include will differ from others as each case is unique. If you ask Legal Expert to make your claim for you and it’s accepted, a solicitor will let you know what you can claim for once they’ve reviewed the impact of the data breach carefully.

To assess the psychological impact of a data breach, medical reports will need to be used to show how the anxiety, distress and confusion have impacted your daily life, job or education. Any problems with relationships caused by the breach will also be considered.

While it would be quite easy to define the value of any financial loss you’ve already sustained, your solicitor will also consider whether you’ll suffer further losses in the future. That could be the case if your details have been shared by cybercriminals online.

All of these considerations show just how tricky it can be to work out what compensation you’ll be able to claim for. That’s why we advise you to let one of our specialist solicitors handle all aspects of your claim for you. Please get in touch if you would like to discuss starting a claim today.

Examples Of Social Services Data Breach Compensation Payouts

There are situations where, unless you’ve suffered financial losses, you can’t make a claim for harm caused by an incident. However, data breach claims differ to this because in the case of Vidal-Hall and others v Google Inc [2015], heard in the Court of Appeal, it was decided that harm could be claimed for in cases where no pecuniary losses had occurred. The court also decided that settlement amounts for non-material damage should be based on personal injury law.

Therefore, to show you what amount of compensation could be awarded for different types of psychological injuries, we’ve provided the following table. It contains information from the Judicial College who maintain a document containing compensation amounts for different injuries which courts often use when valuing claims.

ClaimSeveritySettlement BracketFurther Information
Psychiatric InjurySevere£51,460 to £108,620The claimant in this category will have marked problems with the ability to cope with life, work or education and managing relationships with friends and family. They will also be susceptible to future vulnerability and their overall prognosis will be very poor.
Psychiatric InjuryModerately Severe£17,900 to £51,460This case will differ from above because although the symptoms may be similar, the claimant's prognosis will be more positive.
Psychiatric InjuryModerate£5,500 to £17,900Again, the claimant may suffer from symptoms similar to those above but they will have already shown a marked improvement and their overall prognosis will be good.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)Severe£56,180 to £94,470PTSD in this category will have permanent effects which means the claimant won't be able to work. All aspects of their life will be affected and there will be no chance of working anywhere near pre-trauma levels.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)Moderate£7,680 to £21,730The effects of PTSD in this category won't be seriously disabling and the claimant will have largely recovered from the symptoms.

The amount of compensation awarded is based on the severity of your injuries. That means providing medical evidence to support your claim is vital. Therefore, as part of the claims process, your solicitor will book you a local medical assessment. A specialist will conduct the appointment and they’ll ask several questions about how you’ve been affected and also refer to any medical records they’ve been given access to.

Following the assessment, your solicitor will be sent a report containing the specialist’s findings. Due to the importance of that report in relation to compensation amounts, a medical assessment is mandatory for all claims.

No Win No Fee Social Services Data Privacy And Protection Breach Claims

So, now you’ve read this guide about claiming for a social services data breach, what’s preventing you from starting a claim today? Well, for many people, there’s a big worry about how much the case will cost them. To remove a lot of that worry, our team of specialist solicitors offer to provide crucial access to justice on a No Win No Fee basis for any claims they accept.

In the first instance, your case will need to be reviewed to check that it’s viable. Once the solicitor agrees to proceed for you, they’ll prepare a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) for you to review and sign.

The CFA provides you with a lot of protection and many benefits, including:

  • You won’t need to pay any upfront fees which allows the case to start straight away.
  • There are no solicitor’s fees to cover while the claim is being processed.
  • In the event that the case is lost, all of your solicitor’s fees will be waived.

When a claim leads to a positive outcome, your solicitor will retain a small percentage of your compensation to cover their costs. This is known as a success fee. The fee is capped by law and listed in the CFA, so you’ll know exactly what you’ll pay from the start.

To enquire about your eligibility to claim using a No Win No Fee agreement, please speak to a member of our team today.

How To Find A Lawyer To Help With Your Data Privacy Breach Claim

When looking for a solicitor to take on a data breach claim, there are a number of steps people often take:

  • Search the Internet for local law firms who could help.
  • Ask a friend or colleague for recommendations.
  • Use online reviews to see what previous clients thought about the law firm they used (you’ll find ours here, by the way!)

Each of those actions could result in you finding a solicitor who’d be willing to take your claim on.

However, we could make the whole process a lot easier and less time-consuming. If you call Legal Expert, you won’t need to do any arduous searching. We have a team of specialist solicitors who’ve been representing our clients in different types of claims for decades. They could help you by providing you with their experience and will work hard to try and ensure you receive the right level of compensation for your claim.

Begin Your Claim

If you would like to begin a claim and want Legal Expert to work with you, here are our contact details:

  • Call an advisor on 0800 073 8804 to discuss your options.
  • Ask an online advisor to explain the claims process in our online chat channel.
  • Email a summary of your claim to info@legalexpert.co.uk.
  • Start an online claim to arrange a call back from an experienced advisor.

When you get in touch, your claim will be reviewed on a no-obligation basis and you’ll receive free legal advice. If there’s a chance of making a successful claim, you’ll be connected to one of our team of solicitors. Remember, any claim they take on will be handled on a No Win No Fee basis.

Extra Resources

Thanks for completing our guide to social services data breach claims. In our final section, we’ve provided some additional links to guides and external resources which we believe may be useful. Please feel free to contact us if there’s anything else you’d like to know.

Social Care Complaints Procedure – Information from the Department of Health & Social Care on how to register a formal complaint.

Adult Social Care Inspections – Information on how the Care Quality Commission inspects and rates adult social care services.

The Care Act 2014 – Legislation which provides a duty of care on local authorities to promote the well-being of vulnerable adults and children.

Care Home Negligence Claims – Advice on when you might be eligible for compensation following an injury in a care home.

Local Authority Claims – Information on the process you should follow to claim for suffering caused by local authority negligence.

Hospital Negligence Claims – Details on when and why you might need to sue a hospital for suffering caused by negligence.

 

Guide by Hambridge

Edited by Billing

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