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

How To Make A Data Breach Claim Against Bristol University

Have you been affected, financially or emotionally, by a University of Bristol data breach? If so, you could be eligible to make a data breach claim against Bristol University for compensation provided you can prove the breach and harm caused. This guide has been put together to give you important information and guidance as to how to go about making data breach compensation claims.

University of Bristol data breach claims-guide

University of Bristol data breach claims-guide

Whether you’ve been harmed by a hacking, a ransomware attack, phishing, or employee error has led to your data being breached, data protection laws allow you to seek compensation from any organisation that has breached your data and caused you material or non-material harm as a result.

Universities, as organisations that process and store personal data, are bound by these laws. This guide explains data protection laws in more detail, giving information on what constitutes a breach, how data breaches in education could happen and what types of compensation you could claim.

We also give you some insight as to the benefits of using a lawyer to help you make a data breach claim. In addition to this, we explain how you could begin a University of Bristol data breach claim without paying your lawyer until your claim was finalised.

If you’re already ready to start your claim, or you have questions you’d like answered, you can call our team on 0800 073 8804. We’d be glad to assist you.

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A Guide To Data Breach Claims Against the University Of Bristol

There are many potential causes of data breaches in higher education. Whether you’ve been affected by a personal data breach that was the result of a password attack, malware, or a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack, or simply as a result of an error by a university member of staff, this could cause you to suffer financial and emotional harm.

All universities in the UK that store and process personal data must abide by data protection laws, including GDPR (The General Data Protection Regulation) and the Data Protection Act 2018. If they breach these laws and your personal data is breached, you could make a claim against them. This guide has been created to show you how.

Making a claim for a University of Bristol data breach could be complicated. You would need to prove that your personal data had been breached and that the breach had caused you to suffer damage, either materially (financially) or non-materially (psychologically), or a combination of the two.

You would also have to make a claim for a data breach by the University of Bristol before the limitation period was up—6 years for a university data breach and 1 year for a breach of human rights.

In the sections below, we give you some useful insight into how to make data breach claims against the University of Bristol. Whether you’re a student there or have attended in the past, or you work there, you’ll be able to find out what could lead to a data breach, and how it could affect you.

You’ll also be able to find out how universities are impacted by GDPR and what percentage of universities in the UK have reported data breaches to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). We also give you some insight into the legal precedent that could allow you to claim not only for the financial impact of a data breach by an educational institution, but also the emotional distress it has caused.

What Is A Data Breach By Bristol University?

Each and every organisation that controls or processes personal data has legal responsibilities to protect that data. Laws such as the Data Protection Act and GDPR must be adhered to by universities in terms of the personal data they control or process that relates to applicants, employees, students and alumni.

While many universities have data protection policies in place, sometimes things do go wrong, and the personal data they hold could be at risk of being breached.

What Are The Different Types of Data Breaches?

A data breach, by GDPR’s definition, includes data incidents where your personal data is accidentally or unlawfully:

  • Stolen
  • Lost
  • Made unavailable
  • Stored, processed, altered, disclosed, transmitted or accessed without authorisation

A university breach of data could occur because of a:

  • University malware attack
  • Computer virus
  • Hack
  • DDoS attack
  • Employee mistake
  • Loss or theft of devices that contain personal data
  • Ransomware

The above are just a few examples of how a breach could happen. It doesn’t matter whether the breach was due to an insider threat or someone outside the organisation. It also doesn’t matter whether the reason for the data breach was malicious or accidental.

Under GDPR, you could claim against any organisation that has breached your personal data if they have breached data protection laws.

How You Could Be Affected By A University Of Bristol Data Breach

A Bristol University data breach could result in a number of unwanted consequences, including:

  • Loss of privacy
  • Theft – this could include both physical theft, if someone were to gain access to your bank account, for example, or identity theft, where someone could potentially apply for finance using your data
  • Selling of your data – your data could be sold to someone else
  • Psychological damage – having your data breached could feel similar to having been robbed. This could lead to anxiety, depression and emotional stress

Pursuing a data breach claim against the University of Bristol could see you compensated for emotional distress and financial expenses caused by a data breach—provided you can evidence the clam and the impact it’s had on you.

If you’re not sure whether you’d be eligible to claim, we could check this for free for you.

How Universities Have To Apply The GDPR

Cybersecurity in higher education is vital. Educational institutes have stringent privacy laws they must abide by, and one of these is GDPR. A failure to abide by GDPR, the most stringent data privacy and security law in the world, could see a university facing enforcement action by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

The penalties of non-compliance with GDPR could include:

  • Fines of up to EUR 10m or 2%of the organisation’s annual revenue from the preceding year for less severe infringements of GDPR
  • Fines of up to EUR 20m or 4% of the organisation’s annual revenue from the preceding year for more serious infringements of GDPR

Universities must adhere to the 7 principles of GDPR to avoid facing such actions. These principles are:

  1. Accountability
  2. Accuracy
  3. Confidentiality/integrity
  4. Limitation of purpose
  5. Limitation of storage
  6. Minimisation of data
  7. Transparency, lawfulness and fairness

In addition to facing enforcement action from the ICO for breaches of personal data, GDPR allows victims of personal data breaches to claim for material and non-material damages experienced because of such breaches.

Which Universities Have Suffered A Data Breach?

There are a number of UK universities that faced a data breach back in 2019. One incident, known as the Blackbaud hack, involved a ransomware attack on a database company that held the details of alumni, students and staff at universities such as:

  • Cumbria University
  • University of Exeter
  • University of Reading
  • University College, Oxford
  • Loughborough University
  • Oxford Brookes University
  • University of Leeds
  • University of York
  • University of London

The database company, Blackbaud, paid the hackers involved in the attack and were confident that stolen data had been destroyed, but it was still accessed without authority. Victims of the Blackbaud hack could potentially seek compensation if their personal data was breached and it caused them harm.

The Greenwich University Data Breach

There was also a data breach by Greenwich University, which was handed a £120,000 by the ICO in 2018. The breach included the personal details of almost 20,000 people.

The ICO’s investigation revealed that a microsite that had been created by one of the university’s students, which included the names, telephone numbers and addresses of some conference attendees, along with some sensitive information was not made secure and protected from attack.

How Many Data Breaches Are There Against Universities?

The number of higher education data security breaches in 2019 was covered in an article by IT Governance. According to their reports, a number of UK universities (54%) reported a data breach to the authorities in 2019. It also revealed that according to a survey, fewer than half of university staff members were given awareness training (46%) and only 51% of students received security training.

In addition to this, in 2019, university internet service provider Jisc conducted some safety tests on a number of UK university’s systems, and testers accessed over fifty such universities’ data within just 2 hours.

Source: https://www.infosecurity-magazine.com/news/over-half-of-universities-suffered/

Data Breaches Caused By Criminal Attacks

If you’re wondering what causes the highest percentage of data breaches relating to universities, these could include:

  • Stolen information – information that is stolen could be sold or even used to assume the identity of another person
  • Recording keystrokes – where user names and passwords are recorded by a hacker in order to access other user’s accounts
  • Ransomware – where a hacker gains access to a system and requests a ransom to return any stolen data, for example
  • Phishing – where people are directed to a fake site, masquerading as a legitimate site, where they log in, giving the perpetrator access to their user name and password
  • Password guessing – this is where, in an attempt to access a system, someone attempts to guess an authorised user’s password
  • Malware/Viruses – hackers could insert damaging code into the systems they target which could destroy, alter or distribute sensitive information
  • DDoS attacks – DDoS stands for Distributed Denial of Service. A hacker could attack a computer system, rendering it impossible for an authorised user to access

If the University of Bristol data breach you’ve been harmed by breaches data protection laws, whatever caused it, you could potentially have a claim for compensation as long as you can prove the breach and harm caused.

Check What Compensation You Could Be Entitled To

Checking what compensation you could be entitled to for a University of Bristol data breach would usually involve carefully assessing the impact of the breach. You may want to assess your financial accounts and how much money you have lost because of the breach, and you could also assess the future impact of the breach too, such as on your credit score.

Not only this, but you could also assess the impact that the University of Bristol data breach has had on your psychological health. You may want to consider whether you have:

  • Lost sleep
  • Been anxious
  • Suffered from depression
  • Experienced any form of emotional distress

If you have, you could claim compensation for this too.

Vidal-Hall and others v Google Inc [2015] – Court of Appeal

The reason data breach claims against the University of Bristol could result in compensation for psychological injuries is because of a legal precedent that was set in the above case. The Court of Appeal mentioned that in cases where a data breach directly caused personal injury, compensation for such injuries could be considered.

Calculating Compensation For A Bristol University Data Breach

When calculating compensation for a Bristol University data breach that has caused psychological harm, your injuries must be assessed by an independent medical expert. You would attend an appointment where the expert could ask you questions and review any medical notes available, and then write a report which detailed your prognosis and your injuries.

The report from the medical expert could go a long way toward evidencing the psychological harm you’ve suffered, allowing the courts and lawyers to hone in on how much compensation could be appropriate for your claim.

If you’re interested in finding out how much compensation might be appropriate for different levels of psychological injury, the table below could be useful. The figures you see in the table come from the Judicial College’s Guidelines, a publication that lawyers and the courts could use to determine appropriate settlements.

Psychological InjuryApprox Compensation LevelSeverity
Psychiatric injury£51,460 to £108,620Severe
Psychiatric injury£17,900 to £51,460Moderately severe
Psychiatric injury£5,500 to £17,900Moderate
Psychiatric injuryUp to £5,500Less severe
PTSD£56,180 to £94,470Severe
PTSD£21,730 to £56,180Moderately severe
PTSD£7,680 to £21,730Moderate
PTSDUp to £7,680Less severe

We should also mention that expenses caused by these injuries, including loss of income if you’ve had to take time off work, could also be claimed for.

Choose A Lawyer Specialising In Data Protection Breach Cases

If you’re looking to complain about a University of Bristol data breach, you may want to have all the facts to hand, so that you could put together a strong letter of complaint.

One of the first things you may want to do is make a SAR (Subject Access Request) to obtain all the data that the university has on you. You could then write to them, asking that they investigate the data breach you believe has occurred.

When complaining, especially if you intend on claiming compensation, the ICO advise you to be specific and include a timescale for the university to respond to you. If the response you get from the university is not satisfactory, you could report it to the ICO and ask them to investigate too.

We would advise anyone intending on reporting a breach to the ICO not to leave it more than 3 months from the breach, as an undue delay in bringing a breach to the ICO’s attention could result in them not choosing to investigate.

Why Consider Using A Lawyer For A University of Bristol Data Breach Claim?

Lots of people who make data breach claims prefer to do so with legal support. There are many reasons for this, including:

  • Being confident that all the legal paperwork was put together correctly
  • Being able to leave the gathering of evidence and negotiation work to an experienced professional
  • Being sure that your lawyer would fight for each type of compensation you could be entitled to claim
  • Being assured that the lawyer would negotiate the maximum payout possible for your case

How To Choose A Lawyer

When it comes to choosing a solicitor to help you with data breach claims against the University of Bristol, you could have a hard decision to make. There are lots of companies that offer very similar services, so how do you know you’re making the most appropriate choice for your claim?

If this is the position you’re in, why not let us help you? Here at Legal Expert, our expert advisors can answer any questions you have about claiming and could assess your eligibility without any charge.

If we feel you could have a strong case for compensation, we could provide you with a data breach solicitor who could fight for compensation for you. With many years’ experience helping claimants get the compensation their cases deserve, and great reviews, which you can take a look at here, we believe we could be of great help when it comes to getting the maximum compensation for your case.

No Win No Fee Data Breach Claims Against the University Of Bristol

Making a No Win No Fee claim for a University of Bristol data breach is something you might not have considered doing. However, it could be beneficial as it would mean you wouldn’t have to pay your solicitor upfront.

To launch a No Win No Fee claim, you’d need to sign a document your lawyer would send you known as a Conditional Fee Agreement. This document, in essence, sets out the agreement that you will pay your solicitor a ‘success fee’ if they manage to arrange a compensation payout for your claim. The terms of the agreement mean you’d only pay the fee if your case was successful.

If you’re concerned that the success fee would be large and would take up a lot of your compensation payout, you might be pleased to hear that it is capped, legally, and represents only a small proportion of a possible payout.

As we mentioned, this fee would only be payable in cases that resulted in a compensation payout. If your lawyer didn’t manage to secure compensation for you, they would not expect you to pay their costs or the success fee.

We have put together a detailed guide regarding No Win No Fee claims, which you could take a look at here. Should you have any questions you’d like us to answer over the phone, we’d be delighted to help you.

How To Get Help

Are you ready to get started with making a University of Bristol data breach claim, or do you have further questions you’d like us to answer? Perhaps you’d like to benefit from a free case check to see if you could be entitled to claim compensation. Either way, you can reach us in any of the following ways:

How To Get More Help

Loss Of Personal Data – If your personal data has been lost, you can find out whether you’d be eligible to claim compensation by reading this guide.

My Employer Breached My Data  – If your employer were to breach your personal data, could you claim compensation? This question and others are answered in this guide.

A Housing Association Breached My Data – Housing Association data breach claims are covered in this handy guide.

The ICO Guide For Organisations – The ICO has produced guidance for organisations as to their responsibilities for protecting the data they control or process. You can read the guide here.

Complain To The ICO – You can find out how and when to make a data breach complaint on the ICO website via this link.

Actions And Decisions Taken By The ICO – Some investigations by the ICO lead to certain actions being taken, including fines. You can find out more about these here.

 

Guide by Jeffries

Edited by Billing

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