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University Of Leeds Data Breach Compensation Claims Guide

In this article, we are going to look at the criteria for claiming compensation if there were data breaches by the University of Leeds. While personal information is required to help a university function correctly, procedures and processes need to be put in place to help keep that information secure. We’ll show what we mean by a university data breach, the new laws that are in place to try and protect you and when you could claim for the harm caused by data protection breaches.

University of Leeds data breach claims guide

University of Leeds data breach claims guide

You have probably heard of the General Data Protection Regulation (or its more common acronym – GDPR). It was introduced into UK law when The Data Protection Act 2018 was enacted. Both of these laws now mean that any company who wants to use your personal information (a data controller) must tell you why and usually ask for your permission before they do. They must also take steps to prevent an individual’s (or data subject’s) personal information from leaking. Otherwise, not only could you claim for any harm caused, but the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) could fine the company too.

The team at Legal Expert are here to help you if you decide you’d like to claim. Our advisors will explain the claims process. They will also, provide free legal advice and assess all claims for free. If your case is accepted, you’ll be partnered with a specialist solicitor who’ll support you on a No Win No Fee basis.

For advice on starting your data breach compensation claim right away, please call us on 0800 073 8804 today. If you’d rather read more about data breach cases involving universities first, please carry on reading.

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A Guide On Claims For Data Breaches By The University Of Leeds

The way in which we do many things has changed since the introduction of the GDPR. When you shop online, make an appointment, register with a doctor or sign up to a university, the forms you fill in will provide a lot more details about how your data will be used. In some cases, you might not realise that a GDPR interaction is happening as many people just click OK on those annoying pop-up boxes that appear. In fact, many of them are being used to gain permission to use your personal information which is a requirement of the new law.

Generally, organisations that process your data need to explain why they need it, how it will be used and if it will be shared by others. However, they don’t always need your permission to use your personal data. Furthermore, personal data must be kept as secure as possible to try and prevent data from being leaked. Failure to do so could result in a lengthy investigation by the ICO. Their report could help you if you decide to start a claim for the harm caused.

For most claims relating to data security breaches, you’ll have 6-years to start your case. Those centring around breaches of human rights will only have one year to be made, though. Our specialist solicitors would suggest that if you start your case as soon as it’s possible to do so, you should find it easier to remember the facts.

If you are ready to begin a claim, or if you have any additional questions, please get in touch with a specialist advisor today.

When Can You Claim For Data Breaches By The University Of Leeds?

While cybersecurity issues like spyware, key loggers, ransomware, phishing emails and viruses are common causes of data protection breaches, they’re not all that the GDPR covers. The new legislation covers any type of data that could identify you personally. As an example, if a filing cabinet was left open and accessed by an unauthorised person then this may be considered as a data breach.

The GDPR lists personal data breaches as events that occur because a security problem allows information to be destroyed, altered, lost, accessed or disclosed in a way that the data subject has not allowed. The ICO will investigate breaches whether they are caused by accidental, illegal or deliberate acts. In order to hold a valid claim, you must be able to prove that the university was negligent when handling your data and that it caused you either or both financial harm and mental illness.

If you want to discuss how we could help you claim for such a breach, why not ask an advisor for free legal advice today?

Can You Claim If Your University Breached The GDPR?

Unlike some legal documentation, the GDPR is fairly straightforward. It is long at 88-pages but quite easy to understand! That’s because it lists a lot of roles and responsibilities which make it easy to understand who has what obligations. For instance, data controllers, like universities, must adopt the following principles when processing personal information. They must:

  • Tell data subjects about the reason their personal data is needed.
  • Make sure the processing of information is fair, transparent and legal.
  • Only collect the information that is required and nothing more.
  • Keep personal data for no longer than is necessary (although no time limit is defined).
  • Make sure the processing of data is conducted securely and confidentially.
  • Provide a means to allow all personal information to kept up to date.

The GDPR explains that personal information means any data which could help identify a data subject (either directly or indirectly). For instance, the list might include student number, staff number, names, emails, addresses, telephone numbers or mobile numbers. In addition, it could include information related to some protected characteristics like gender, sexuality, disability or ethnicity.

If you think a data breach has caused you to suffer because the rules listed above have not been adhered to, please discuss your case with an advisor. They’ll review your options for free and provide free legal advice.

How Do I Know If A University Has Breached My Data Privacy Rights?

Now it’s time to look at a data breach case study involving the University of Leeds. It occurred when one of its suppliers, Blackbaud, were the victim to a hacker attack.

The company supplies the higher education sector, as well as some charities, with a database solution which many use. The database can either be operated locally or using the company’s cloud-based solution.

Blackbaud became aware data had been compromised and launched an investigation. They also received a ransom demand confirming that some data had been downloaded illegally from the servers. As per GDPR protocol, the company had to let any customers who may be at risk know about the breach so they could inform their contacts who might have been affected.

The Blackbaud hack happened in May 2020. It was reported that the data was mainly contact details for alumni but, in some cases, also included current staff and students as well.

News article:

If you’d like to know if we could help you claim for such a breach, please call the number at the top of the page when you’re ready to begin.

How Many Universities Have Suffered Data Protection Breaches?

You might not realise how common security breaches involving universities have become. A study by a cybersecurity firm has recently revealed that they are more common than expected. The study which questioned 86-universities found that:

  • Over half (54%) of the responding universities had reported themselves to the ICO in the last year because of a data breach.
  • A staggering 46% of staff at the universities had not been trained on data safety in 2020.
  • Budgets for staff training were set at only £7,529 per year, on average, for each university.
  • More than a quarter (27%) of universities confirmed that a penetration test had not been performed.
  • Only 54% of universities have trained staff in security measures.

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These figures might seem quite shocking when you realise how much personal information is held by universities. They store data on staff, students and, in many cases, information of a sensitive nature related to research projects. If you would like more information about this article on data breaches by The University of Leeds please call our team today.

Reducing Criminal Breaches In Data Protection And Privacy

By no means are we claiming to be IT security experts by writing this guide! However, in this section, we will list some common good practice guidelines which could help prevent data breaches at British universities in the future. They include:

  • Only allowing devices onto IT networks where all security patches have been applied.
  • Encrypting devices like laptops, memory sticks and tablets so that the data cannot be accessed if stolen or lost.
  • Checking and updating data protection policies regularly.
  • Using IT security experts to conduct penetration testing of the IT infrastructure to identify weak spots before criminals figure them out.
  • Ensuring staff, contractors and students are properly trained in data security techniques.

It is true that the cost of implementing these measures might be off-putting. However, in the long-term, they could save money if they prevent the university from receiving a fine from the ICO. In addition, they could stop students, staff and alumni from suffering the harm that a data breach can often lead to.

What Compensation Do You Have The Right To Claim?

The rules around compensation claims are that once you have accepted a settlement offer, you can’t request any further compensation for the same case later on. That makes it really important to ensure everything is included in your first claim. Therefore, as well as asking to be compensated for any suffering you have already sustained, you will need to consider future suffering too.

Data breach claims usually have two parts to them. Material damages is the name given to compensation for actual financial losses you have sustained. Non-material damages are claimed to compensate for any injuries you have suffered because of the data breach.

To start a financial loss claim, you’ll start with costs you have already incurred (such as stolen money). Then you could look at costs that might present themselves in the future. For instance, if your credit file has been damaged by identity thieves, you might need to look at the additional costs you could incur when taking out financial services in the future.

For medical conditions, your claim will first look at injuries that have already been diagnosed like anxiety, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or depression. Then a medical specialist might report that you are going to suffer longer-term with relationships, work or coping with life in general.

As you can see, there are a lot of details to consider before your claim is submitted. That’s one of the main reasons we would advise you to have legal representation. If your claim is accepted by one of our solicitors, they will work with you to thoroughly consider all parts of your claim so that nothing is omitted from it. Please get in touch today if you would like us to review your claim for free and explain your legal options.

Compensation Settlement Calculator For Data Breaches By Universities

The rule was set when the Court of Appeal heard the case of Vidal-Hall and others v Google Inc [2015]. They also decided that claims must be settled using amounts paid in personal injury claims for illnesses that have been suffered.

To that end, the table below lists some common injuries that might be sustained following a data breach along with potential compensation figures. The figures have been taken from a guide used by legal professionals when settling personal injury claims called the Judicial College Guidelines. The table does not include any financial losses you may have incurred.

Suffering / Psychiatric Injury Severity Compensation Range More Information
Psychiatric Damage Generally Severe £51,460 – £108,620 As the claimant is not likely to benefit from treatment and they will remain vulnerable, a very poor prognosis will be offered in this category.
Psychiatric Damage Generally Moderate £5,500 to £17,900 The claimant will suffer similarly to the previous category but they will have a more optimistic prognosis.
PTSD Moderately Severe £21,730 to £56,180 In the foreseeable future, the claimant will suffer significant symptoms of PTSD. However, they are likely to benefit and improve from professional support.
PTSD Moderate £7,680 to £21,730 In this category, the claimant will have largely recovered. Any symptoms which remain will not be grossly disabling.

To try and make sure your level of compensation is correct, you will need to show the extent of your suffering by providing medical evidence. Therefore, as part of the claims process, you will be asked to visit a local medical assessment appointment. In your meeting, an independent medical professional will review your medical records and ask questions to assess your symptoms. After the assessment has been completed, a report will be sent to your solicitor containing the specialist’s findings.

How Do I Make A Claim If My Data Privacy Was Breached?

So, you might be wondering how you go about picking a law firm to help you start your claim. There are a few methods commonly used. Some people ask for advice from their friends, while others use online reviews to help them choose. Another method is to look for a local company to help you.

While it is possible that any of these steps could help, we have an easier solution. One easy call to Legal Expert could be all you need! When you speak to our team, you can ask any number of questions about your options and we’ll assess your claim for free too. If your claim is taken on, a solicitor will be assigned to work with you, and they’ll explain any complex legal processes to you. You’ll receive updates when your case progresses and there will be the opportunity to ask questions when needed.

Our team of experienced specialists will do all they can to try and make sure you’re compensated fairly. So, why not get in touch today to see if Legal Expert could take your claim forward with you?

No Win No Fee Claims For Data Breaches By The University Of Leeds

For many claimants wanting to use a solicitor as their representation they worry about the costs of legal fees. That’s the reason that our experienced solicitors offer a No Win No Fee service for all claims that are accepted. This service means we offer crucial legal representation with a lowered financial risk.

Your solicitor will need to check the claim is feasible before agreeing to proceed. If the case is taken on, you’ll receive a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) to sign. Within the CFA, you’ll find out how your case will be funded, and it will also show that:

  • There will be no upfront charges to pay your solicitor so the claim can start quickly.
  • No solicitor’s fees will be requested as your case progresses.
  • The solicitor’s fees will be waived if the claim is unsuccessful.

Should your claim be won, your solicitor will keep a percentage of your compensation to cover the cost of their work. This is detailed in the CFA as the success fee. Your percentage will be listed clearly so you know how much will be paid before signing the CFA. By law, such fees are capped.

If you want to know if your case could be funded by a No Win No Fee agreement, please contact our team today.

Contact Us

We are fast approaching the end of this article about the criteria for claiming if things like data breaches by Leeds University occur. We have tried to provide all of the information to help you decide whether you’ll start a claim. If you wish to do so, you can contact Legal Expert by:

We would never want to provide false hope. We will be completely honest about your chances of being compensated. Following a no-obligation consultation you’ll be given free legal advice. An advisor could connect you with a specialist solicitor if your claim appears viable. If the solicitor takes your case on, they’ll operate on a No Win No Fee basis.

Resources For Data Breach Cases

In the last part of our article about whether you could claim if there were data breaches by the University of Leeds, we are going to provide links to external resources which you might need to refer to during a compensation claim. If there are any extra details you need, please call an advisor today. Finally, so you can see what other claims we can help with, we’ve linked to some additional Legal Expert guides here as well.

Objecting To Data Usage – An ICO article on when you can refuse for your data to be used.

Anxiety Types – Guidance from Anxiety UK on the different ways in which people suffer from anxiety.

Medical Data Breaches – Details of how our solicitors can support you with data breaches by medical organisations.

GBH Injury Claims – Information on claiming for injuries sustained in a grievous bodily harm crime against you.

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.

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