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Solent University Data Breach Compensation Claims Guide – How Much Compensation Can I Claim? – Amounts For Solent University Data Breach

Universities often manage a lot of personal and sensitive data about their students, staff and alumni. In fairness, it’d be fairly difficult to operate without it. The problem is that much of that information could cause problems if it got into the wrong hands. In this article, we’ll look at what problems can result from data protection breaches. Specifically, we are going to examine data breach claims against Solent University.

Solent University data breach claims guide

Solent University data breach claims guide

Since 2018, data protection rules in the UK have been tightened. General Data Protection Regulation was introduced to help make personal data held by organisations more secure. You’ll probably have heard this called the GDPR. It became UK law after The Data Protection Act 2018 was enacted. Additionally, they need to try and store the data securely by increasing security measures. Any data controller who is responsible for a data breach could face a massive fine from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). Furthermore, you might be able to claim compensation for any harm that results from a personal data breach.

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If you believe you are eligible to make a claim, we could help you. Our advisors are happy to review your case on a no-obligation basis. They’ll provide free advice on how to proceed. In addition, they could partner you with a specialist solicitor. If your case is taken on, it will be managed on a No Win No Fee basis.

Please call 0800 073 8804 to begin your claim today. Otherwise, please continue reading if you’d like more information about the effects of university data breaches.

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A Guide To Data Breach Claims Against Solent University

There are many times when you’ll be asked about your GDPR preferences each day. On many occasions, you may not realise because we’ve become so familiar with them. You may just click a button or tick a box to dismiss them. You might see GDPR questions when you book a doctor’s appointment, visit a website, make an online purchase or register for a university course. Although we have become a little immune to these interactions, they are important so should be read carefully.

The reason companies have started including these interactions in their processes is because generally, they need a lawful reason to process personal information according to the GDPR. Under these new laws, individuals (data subjects) have greater control over the ways in which data about them is used. Organisations (data controllers) usually need your permission before using your data. If companies fail to adhere to data protection legislation and personal data is exposed they could become liable not only for a fine from the ICO, but also to pay compensation to anyone who suffers as a consequence.

Data Breach Time Limitations

The time limit for data breach claims is 6-years. However, that be as low as 1-year if your claim is related to a human rights breach. Therefore, we’d advise you to get in touch with us as soon as possible. By starting your claim earlier, your data breach solicitor may have a better chance of obtaining evidence to support your claim. Also, it should be easier for you to discuss what happened and how you suffered.

When you’ve completed this article, why not give us a call. You can discuss your options. We’ll review your claim with you and give free advice on what steps to take next.

How The GDPR Applies To Universities

If universities process personal data about their students and staff, they will be considered data controllers. That means that they need to abide by the rules set out in the GDPR when handling information. That means that when they collect personal data, they need to be able to prove that:

  • Data collection is legal, fair and transparent.
  • Personal records are only kept for as long as they are required.
  • Personal data is kept confidentially and securely.
  • They only obtain data that is needed and nothing extra.
  • Ensure that personal information is regularly updated.

The common perception of data breaches is that they are caused by cybercriminals and involve hacking, ransomware, viruses, phishing emails and key loggers. However, the GDPR also applies to physical documentation too. That means that paperwork needs to be secured in similar ways to digital data. For example, the following steps could be used to help ensure GDPR compliance:

  • Keeping filing cabinets locked while not in use.
  • Securely shredding documentation containing personal information rather than disposing of it with other rubbish.
  • Keeping student and staff addresses up to date to stop letters from being sent to the wrong address.

If you have suffered following a university data breach, please call our team today. You’ll receive free advice on making your claim. And we also could appoint a No Win No Fee specialist solicitor to represent you.

Types Of Data Breaches Which May Affect A University

At the point this guide was written, there weren’t any Solent University data breaches listed on the ICO’s register. Therefore, in this section, we’ll provide details of a breach that led to the ICO fining The University of Greenwich £120,000.

A microsite that was created by an academic and student back in 2004. It was set up for a training event and included personal information about 19,500 people. In many cases, names, telephone numbers and addresses. However, for some 3,500 people, more sensitive information was included.

After the training event had concluded, the website was not removed or secured. Many years later, in 2013, it became compromised. In 2016 an exploit was used by multiple attackers to access the data and other areas of the server.

Due to a lack of processes to, so far as possible, prevent such breaches, the university was fined by the ICO.

The Blackbaud Hack

In a well-reported case, universities were put at risk when an IT service provider was hacked. Blackbaud supply a relationship management database to the higher education sector.

The incident in May 2020 involved university data being hacked. Following an investigation, they identified that some data had been illegally downloaded from the server. At the time of the first report, the company said that financial and password information had not been accessed. This was however changed later on when it admitted that might be the case for some customers.

As is required under data protection laws, the company let affected customers know about the breach. In turn, the universities informed students, alumni and staff about what to look out for.

Unusually, to stop the risk of personal information being used by the hackers, Blackbaud decided to pay their ransomware demand. As a result, the cyber attackers said that the data had been destroyed.

Report (1):

Report (2):

How Many Higher Education Institutions Have Had Data Breaches

In this section, we are going to look at a report that has been produced by a specialist IT security firm. Their findings are based on responses from 86 universities relating to data security. Here are the important statistics:

  • Only 54% of university staff were trained in data safety.
  • In the same period, just over half of university students were given similar training (51%).
  • 44% of universities said they paid for external penetration tests annual. However, 27% said they’d never done so.
  • Budgets for staff training averaged out at just £7,529
  • Somewhat surprisingly, 54% of respondents said their university had referred itself to the ICO following a data breach in the past 12-months.

More details:

Steps To Prevent Criminal Breaches In Cybersecurity

There are some measures that a university could implement to reduce the risk of data breaches. For example, they could:

  • Ensure portable devices are encrypted so that data is inaccessible if lost or stolen.
  • Have data protection policies in place that are regularly reviewed.
  • Only use devices with the latest software updates and security patches.
  • Use an external company to conduct a penetration test of the university’s security.
  • Make sure all students, contractors and staff are trained in data security techniques.

These measures do come at a cost but if they prevent a data breach, they could stop the university from being fined by the ICO.

What Types Of Compensation May Be Awarded?

Any compensation you request needs to be fully justified and requires evidence to substantiate your allegations. Additionally, you need to think about suffering or losses that have already happened as well as any that might happen later on. That’s because you can only make a single claim.

Usually, you will work out the value of any financial losses first. This is known as the material damages element of your claim. After you’ve done so, you might need to work out a value for future losses too. This might be appropriate if your personal information has been sold online.

After that, you’ll move on to non-material damages. This is the compensation that is designed to cover pain, suffering and loss of amenity. Again, the first part of the claim will be based on suffering that has previously been diagnosed. Your data breach solicitor will use a medical report to see if you need to claim for future suffering too. For example, if your prognosis says you’ll suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in the future, then that will need to be included.

As you can see, there is a lot of information that’s required when calculating your compensation figure. For that reason, we strongly advise having a data breach solicitor represent you. If you work with one from our team, they’ll aim to include all aspects of your suffering. This is to try and make sure you don’t miss out on any compensation due to you. Please call today for more information.

Calculating Compensation For Data Breach Claims Against Solent University

In this section, we are going to concentrate on how much compensation could be awarded for the harm caused by a data breach. The details we’ll provide here should be taken as guidance because no two cases are the same. After your case has been reviewed, we should be able to provide a personalised compensation estimate for you.

The Court of Appeal made an important decision in the case of Vidal-Hall and others v Google Inc [2015]. They decided that claimants can seek compensation for injuries caused by data breaches even when they’ve not suffered financially. Compensation will be paid using the same figures paid in personal injury cases.

In our table below, we’ve added data from the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG). This is a document that is used when settling personal injury claims so is relevant for data breach claims as well.

Type of InjurySeverity LevelCompensation DetailsAdditional Notes
Psychiatric Factors used to assess these injuries: 1) Ability to cope (work, life, education); 2) Impact on relationships; 3) Future vulnerability; 4) Likelihood that treatment will help; 5) Medical prognosis
Severe£51,460 to £108,620A very poor prognosis due to serious problems with factors 1 - 4.
Moderately Severe£17,900 to £51,460A more optimistic prognosis but the victim will still have significant problems with factors 1-4.
Moderate£5,500 to £17,900The prognosis will be good because factors 1-4 will already have improved.
PTSDSevere£56,180 to £94,470Permanent symptoms that prevent any form of work and the claimant won't be able to function at pre-trauma levels.
Moderately Severe£21,730 to £56,180The victim will have suffered similarly to above but should be able to improve with professional support.
Moderate£7,680 to £21,730Where the victim has suffered but largely recovered. Some symptoms might persist but won’t be massively disabling.

As settlement figures are based on how severe your injuries are, you’ll need to undergo a medical assessment. Therefore, as part of the claims process, your solicitor will arrange for you to see an independent specialist locally.

In your meeting, the specialist will ask you some questions about how you’ve been affected. They may also refer to any medical records that are available to them. Once they have finished, they’ll prepare a detailed report of their findings. Their prognosis will then be forwarded to your solicitor. Please call us today if you’d like to know how much compensation you could be awarded.

What Do I Need To Know In Order To Make A Claim?

Our advice when making data breach claims would be to let a legal specialist represent you. By doing so, we believe you’ll have a better chance of receiving the right level of compensation. Choosing a solicitor to work with can be a complex process on its own! You might base your choice on a friend’s recommendation, the solicitor’s location or on internet reviews. Alternatively, you could contact our free advice line.

We offer free legal advice whether you decide to claim with us or not. If your case is taken on by one of our solicitors, they will:

  • Research your case thoroughly and prepare your claim.
  • Explain any complex legal terms and answer any questions.
  • Update you as your case progresses.
  • Manage all aspects of communication with the defendant’s lawyers or insurers.
  • Work hard to try and achieve the highest level of compensation possible.

If you’d like to know more about how we could support your claim, our advice line is open 24-hours a day. Please call and let us know why you would like to start a claim.

No Win No Fee Data Breach Claims Against Solent University

The fear of spending a lot of money on solicitor fees is something that prevents many people from making compensation claims. That is the reason our team of solicitors work on a No Win No Fee basis for any claim that is accepted. That means you can benefit from the experience of our solicitors with reduced financial risk. In turn, that will make the process of claiming a lot less stressful.

Before offering this service, your solicitor will examine your case with you. If they are willing to work with you, they will supply a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) for you. The CFA explains what needs to be achieved if your solicitor is to be paid. Once you’re happy, and the CFA is signed, the case can begin. Importantly, funding a case with a CFA means:

  • No upfront solicitor’s fees.
  • You don’t have to pay for your solicitor’s work while they are handling the claim.
  • If the claim does not succeed, you don’t need to pay any solicitor’s fees.

In the event that your solicitor wins compensation for you, they will keep a percentage of your settlement. This is used to cover the cost of their work. The percentage is listed in the CFA as a success fee. By law, success fees are capped to prevent overcharging.

If you call an advisor today, they will be able to verify if your case is suitable to be funded by a No Win No Fee agreement.

Speaking To A Member Of Our Team

We have almost reached the end of this guide on examining data breach claims against Solent University. Hopefully, we have explained all you need to know about the claims process. If you are now ready to talk to us about your case, you can reach us by:

We will always try to keep things as easy as possible when you contact our team. An advisor will start by assessing your case in a no-obligation telephone consultation. After your case has been reviewed, you will be advised about your options going forward. If there’s a reasonable chance of success, we could appoint a data breach lawyer to your case. If they take it on, it will be funded by a No Win No Fee agreement. For more information on how we could help you claim, please call our specialists today.

Information And Resources

We would like to thank you for taking the time to complete this article about data breach claims against Solent University. In our final section, we have provided some resources that might be helpful during your claim. Should you need anything further, please contact us on the number above.

ICO Enforcement Action – This page shows the action taken by the ICO for recent breaches of data protection rules.

Anxiety UK – This charity provides advice and support for people who suffer from anxiety.

Finally, because we can support other types of compensation claims, we have included a few more guides below:

Child Accident Claims – Details on how you could represent your child if they have suffered an injury in a no-fault accident.

Concussion Claims – Free legal advice on making concussion claims following an accident caused by somebody else.

Cruise Ship Claims – Information on when a personal injury solicitor could help you if you’re injured or become ill whilst on a cruise.

Other Useful Compensation Guides

Written By Hambridge

Edited By Melissa.

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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.