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Somerset West and Taunton Council Data Breach Claims

This guide details what you could do if a possible Somerset West and Taunton Council data breach occurred. Furthermore, what we discuss could be used in reference to any other council.

In short, you can learn under what circumstances you may have a valid claim by reading this guide. Additionally, we will discuss how to find a good lawyer to process your claim for you.

What Data Breaches By A Council Could You Claim For?

Somerset West and Taunton Council data breach

It’s important to remember that every claim is unique in its own way. As a result, you may still have questions after reading this guide. That’s why our advisors are available 24/7 to give free legal advice.

You may reach them on 0800 073 8804. Alternatively, why not use our live chat?

When you call, an advisor will answer all of your questions and let you know what else we can do to assist you. What’s more, you’ll be under no obligation to proceed with the services of our No Win No Fee solicitors. So why not reach out?

Select A Section:

  1. A Guide To Claims For Somerset West and Taunton Council Data Breaches
  2. The Latest Cyber Security Statistics
  3. What Are Claims For Somerset West and Taunton Council Data Breaches?
  4. Does A District Or Borough Council Need To Comply With The UK GDPR?
  5. Has Somerset West And Taunton Council Suffered A Data Breach?
  6. Council Service Data Breaches
  7. Which Bodies Do I Report Data Breaches To?
  8. Steps To Make A Successful Claim
  9. How The Impact Of A Data Breach Is Assessed
  10. Estimating Payouts For Somerset West and Taunton Council Data Breaches
  11. No Win No Fee Payouts For Somerset West and Taunton Council Data Breaches
  12. Where Can I Find A Data Breach Specialist?
  13. Talking To A Solicitor
  14. Related Guides
  15. Commonly Asked Data Breach Questions

A Guide To Claims For Somerset West and Taunton Council Data Breaches

A personal data breach is a breach of security that leads to the loss, access, destruction, disclosure or alteration of personal information. It can be deliberately done or accidentally. What’s more, it can involve digital personal information or physical, such as that held on paper records.

Personal data is any information that can be used (either alone or in combination with other information) to identify you.

This guide is for people who suspect they have been affected by a possible council data breach. Furthermore, the information it provides you with will help you better understand the claims process.

First, some background information is provided. Following this introduction, we discuss what local authority data breach claims are. We also examine the types of data that are protected by UK law, as well as applicable legislation.

The next step is to examine laws related to data security and privacy and how the council has to comply with them. Furthermore, we added some examples illustrating what can happen to personal information if compliance slips.

We also give guidance on how to handle complaints, reporting a breach, and claims. If you suspect that your personal data privacy has been compromised, you’ll learn about your options for dealing with the issue.

Following that, the guide introduces several important financial issues regarding compensation claims. As a result, you will learn why you may be entitled to compensation.

In addition, you will find an example compensation table. There is also an explanation of a No Win No Fee agreement. Our guide concludes with some information on finding a solicitor and starting a claim. We also have a few reference links and an FAQ section.

Limitations On The Time To File A Claim

It is important that you make a claim within the proper deadline. Your claim’s particular circumstances will determine how long you have to start a claim. In short, a claim should be made within the following time frame:

  • 6 years; or
  • 1 year for claims against public bodies such as councils.

We can tell you what deadline is right for your case if you call our advisors and explain your situation.

The Latest Cyber Security Statistics

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) enforce data security and privacy laws in the UK. We will later discuss how data breaches can be reported to the ICO. For now, we’ll look at datasets that are available publicly via the ICO.

The graph below was created from data security incident trends for the first quarter of 2021/22. In this graph, common causes of non-cyber related central government data breaches are illustrated.

What Causes Data Breaches

Somerset West and Taunton Council Data Breach

This guide aims to look at what a Somerset West and Taunton Council data breach could lead to. We consider what to do if your personal data is compromised, causing you to suffer mentally or financially, and you can prove that a local authority failed to protect your personal data.

What Are Claims For Somerset West and Taunton Council Data Breaches?

There are a variety of reasons you may qualify for compensation following a personal data breach. All personal data belonging to you must be kept safe by your local authority if they’re collecting, holding or processing it.

The local authority is required to do this by law. A data breach could therefore result from the council failing to follow all relevant data privacy and security laws. In such a case, a claim for compensation may be feasible. Nonetheless, you must prove that the council’s positive wrongful conduct caused the data breach.

You must, in other words, establish that the council is liable. If this can be done, and you suffered financially or mentally as a result, you might be able to make a claim. An advisor from our claims department can give you some advice on how to go about doing this.

Laws & Regulations

The European Union (EU) General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was enacted into UK law through the Data Protection Act 2018. The UK GDPR sits alongside the Data Protection Act 2018 and both are part of our data protection legislation.

Protected Data

The UK GDPR does not require all data to be protected. It only applies to certain types of information. This includes your personal and special category data. However, we would like to provide some clarification here.

  • Personal information is also known as personal data. It includes your name, address, phone number and email address, for example. Additionally, it may also include your bank account information or payment card details.
  • Special category data is a kind of personal data. It needs to be treated with extra caution because it is sensitive. It is data revealing information about: racial or ethnic originspolitical opinionsreligious or philosophical beliefstrade union memberships; genetic data; biometric data (where used for the purpose of identification); health; a person’s sex life; and a person’s sexual orientation.

Does A District Or Borough Council Need To Comply With The UK GDPR?

Local authorities should comply with UK GDPR when they hold, collect or process personal data, regardless of their status as a government organisation. They should comply just like any other organisation or company.

In the event that compliance protocols aren’t followed properly, a potential data breach could occur. However, to prevent this, the UK GDPR outlines seven core principles quite comprehensively. The seven principles of UK GDPR are as follows.

  1. That your personal data is stored for a limited period of time.
  2. Personal data should always be protected (security and integrity).
  3. Correct and current personal data is maintained.
  4. Personal data should be processed in a limited number of ways, that are authorised by you. (However, there are exceptions where your data might be shared without your consent.)
  5. The minimal amount of your personal data required for intended purposes should only be used.
  6. Transparency, fairness, and legality should underpin all personal data-related activities.
  7. All actions related to data storage and processing must be taken responsibly and there must be accountability.

Has Somerset West And Taunton Council Suffered A Data Breach?

Sometimes data breaches are simply a result of an innocent mistake. Other breaches are more malicious. Both can put the data subjects affected at risk. Below are some examples of breaches that may affect your personal data privacy.

  • Your personal data is accessed by an employee of the council who then discusses it with someone outside of work, though there is no lawful reason to.
  • An outsider who has breached the substandard council cybersecurity has accessed your personal information.
  • Incorrect data privacy procedures are followed when old files or physical data records are disposed of incorrectly. This means someone without permission could access the personal data.
  • A council employee decides to share your personal information in an email, but the recipient of the email does not have a lawful basis to view your personal data.

If liability and mental or financial damage can be proven, compensation could potentially be claimed in each example. Talk to one of our advisors if you want to learn more about making a claim.

Council Service Data Breaches

In the section above, we looked at how a potential Somerset West and Taunton Council data breach could occur. We now look more specifically at data breaches that could happen for tenants or users of social services.

Councils collect personal information if you are a council tenant or have regular contact with social services. As a result, the following personal data hazards could end in your personal information being compromised.

  • Cybercriminals can access your tenancy agreement or a rent statement following successful cyber attacks.
  • Third parties with no lawful reason to view social services information about your social care are given information about you or your family.
  • A third party landlord receives your tenancy documents without the council first redacting your personal data.
  • Your rent payment history, for example, is displayed on a screen so that anyone nearby can see it, whether they have a lawful reason to or not.

The above examples could, once again, give rise to valid data breach claims. You may be eligible for reimbursement under the same or similar circumstances if they’re caused by a council’s data privacy failings and you suffer as a result. If you are looking for help starting a claim, contact our claims team today.

Which Bodies Do I Report Data Breaches To?

Your first step should be to contact the council that was responsible for protecting your personal data. They may have a data protection officer (DPO) or another relevant party that you can discuss your issues with. They should be able to tell you if a data breach has occurred.

You can learn about the way your personal data has been impacted. As a result, you should be able to tell for certain whether and how badly your personal data has been affected.

Secondly, consider making contact with the Information Commissioner’s Office if you don’t get a satisfactory response to your concerns from the council. You can file a complaint to the ICO within three months of the last meaningful communication with the council about the breach.

If you wait longer than three months to raise your concerns, it may affect how the ICO responds to them.

Steps To Make A Successful Claim

It is not necessary to follow the above steps. However, you can see how taking this prior action could strengthen your claim. The ICO might take measures against the council if you report the data breach to it so that future data breaches of the same nature are potentially prevented.

However, the ICO can’t give you compensation for your suffering. To do this, you’d need to claim.

If you have evidence of a valid claim, we can assist. Let our advisors know your situation and we will be able to help. Our advisors can tell you how to proceed after they have a better understanding of your case.

How The Impact Of A Data Breach Is Assessed

You may be eligible to file for damages in two ways. First, you may seek damages for trauma, stress, and other psychological harm the data breach has caused or worsened. Second, you may seek damages for financial losses the data breach created.

Non-Material Damage

A case in the Court of Appeal, Vidal-Hall and others v Google Inc. [2015], provides some useful information. To put it briefly, the claim was upheld. And this was despite there being no financial loss associated with the data breach for the claimant.

As a result of this case, the Court held that you could claim for psychological harm, regardless of whether the data breach also caused you financial loss or not.

Compensation for psychological harm caused by a data breach is non-material damage. You can prove non-material damage by attending an independent medical assessment. A professional would assess your injuries and create a report. That report could be used to:

  1. Value the severity of your injuries.
  2. Prove that your injuries were caused or worsened by the data breach.

If it’s found that the data breach didn’t give rise to or exacerbate your psychological condition, you would find it difficult to claim non-material damage.

Material Damage

Financial loss caused by a data breach is material damage. It can be attributed to two main factors:

  1. The cost associated with making a claim.
  2. Financial loss that you suffer because your data has been compromised.

In both cases, you may be able to claim back all or part of these losses. However, you’d need evidence of them. For example, if a criminal used your personal data to access your bank details and they took money that you weren’t able to recover, you could recover it through a claim. You could use bank statements and correspondence with the bank to prove this.

Estimating Payouts For Somerset West and Taunton Council Data Breaches

As we mentioned, claims are unique to each individual, as is compensation. Generally, compensation reflects the severity of your suffering.

For non-material damages, we can provide you with the below compensation table of possible compensation ranges.

Degree of Harm Issue Potential Compensation Additional Data
Moderate Psychiatric Damage £5,500 – £17,900 The person will have shown a significant improvement.
Moderately severe Psychiatric Damage £17,900 – £51,460 The person will find it difficult to cope with education, life and work. The prognosis will be poor but better than those in the severe category.
Less severe Psychiatric Damage Up to £5,500 The compensation level will take into consideration how long the symptoms lasted and how much everyday activities and sleep were impacted.
Severe Psychiatric Damage £51,460 – £108,620 The person will find it difficult to cope with education, life and work. The prognosis will be very poor.

In developing this table, we consulted the Judicial College Guidelines. These are guidelines that legal professionals use to help them when valuing injuries. The guidelines include a long list of different injuries and their severities as well as how much compensation is recommended for them.

If you can’t see your injuries in the compensation table, below why not use our compensation calculator? You can also get in touch with our advisors for a free, accurate estimate.

No Win No Fee Payouts For Somerset West and Taunton Council Data Breaches

No Win No Fee is a phrase you may have come across before. Most likely, you’ve heard of it already and know what it means. Did you know such agreements can be used for more than just personal injury claims? To make a claim for a council data breach, you could potentially use the services of a No Win No Fee lawyer.

Under No Win No Fee, you would not have to pay a fee to the lawyer for taking on and starting to work on your case. Furthermore, you do not need to pay the lawyer their fee during the process, or if the claim fails.

In the event that the lawyer succeeds with the claim, then you would have to pay a success fee. There is a cap on this fee by law. In addition, it is only collected from the compensation once that’s come through. You benefit from the balance.

If you would like a more detailed explanation of how a No Win No Fee claim works, you can contact our claims team. Our solicitors all offer their services on a No Win No Fee basis.

Where Can I Find A Data Breach Specialist?

You could consider contacting a specialist claims lawyer before filing a claim for a council data breach. A specialist claims lawyer could help you receive the maximum compensation for your claim. The solicitor should be familiar with all aspects of the claims process and should have experience in assisting claimants such as yourself.

All of our lawyers have extensive experience helping claimants like you obtain the maximum compensation they can for their claim. We invite you to speak to one of our advisors. You’ll learn how to start the claims process and, if you have a strong claim, they could connect you with our solicitors.

Talking To A Solicitor

Are you looking for some free legal advice? Or perhaps you are ready to go ahead with a claim as soon as possible? If so, we could help. Your claim will be evaluated by an advisor, and if applicable, they could connect you to our solicitors.

Our advisors are available 24/7 and give free legal advice with no obligation for you to proceed with the services of our solicitors.

In addition, since a No Win No Fee agreement would apply to any claim our solicitors take on, you won’t have to pay their fees upfront. Contact us today and see what we can do for you.

  • Call us on 0800 073 8804
  • Use our live chat to get instant answers from our advisors.
  • Use our online claim form so we can get back to you whenever’s best.

Related Guides

It could be beneficial to read over these other guides that we have published.

Listed below are links to external sites that contain some good information.

Commonly Asked Data Breach Questions

Here are some answers to questions you might have about a potential personal data breach claim.

What is the most common data breach?

Data breaches can be accidental or deliberate. In addition, they can be non-cyber related or cyber-related. Data breaches are commonly caused by human error, such as sending a mass email using the ‘To’ field instead of the ‘Bcc’ field. This means personal email addresses are shared with those who aren’t necessarily authorised to see them.

What are the 3 types of data breaches?

There are many different kinds of data breaches, including accidental, malicious, cyber-related and non-cyber related.

How do you investigate a data breach?

You can contact the council to check whether your personal data has been involved in a data breach. However, if you don’t get a satisfactory response, you could raise your personal information concerns with the ICO.

Thank you for reading our guide on what you could do following a Somerset West and Taunton Council data breach. 

Written by Wheeler

Edited by Victorine

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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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