Anxiety Caused By A Data Breach – When Could You Claim Compensation?

This guide will explain how you can claim compensation for anxiety caused by a data breach. A personal data breach can cause significant psychological harm. Not only can a data breach cause mental health issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and anxiety, but it can also worsen existing mental health issues.

anxiety caused by a data breach

Anxiety caused by a data breach claims guide

We will explain what a personal data breach is, alongside what legislation is in place to keep your personal data safe. You can also read about what you can claim in terms of compensation and how the services of a No Win No Fee solicitor could be beneficial to you.

Contact our advisors today for more information regarding your anxiety caused by a data breach claim. They can offer free legal advice and further support surrounding your claim. If they find your case to be valid, they may connect you with an expert solicitor from our panel. You can get in touch using the following details:

Select A Section

  1. What Is Anxiety?
  2. What Are Data Breaches?
  3. Could A Data Breach Trigger Anxiety?
  4. Can You Claim For Anxiety Caused By A Data Breach?
  5. Is There An Average Payout For Anxiety Caused By A Data Breach?
  6. Contact Us To Find Out About No Win No Fee Claims

What Is Anxiety?

The NHS describes anxiety as a feeling of unease. This includes worry and fear at both a minor and severe level. Anxiety can be the main symptom of multiple conditions, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), social anxiety disorder and other phobias.

Symptoms of anxiety can include a feeling of restlessness, dizziness and trouble with sleeping and concentrating on tasks. You should consult a medical professional if you believe you are suffering from anxiety.

Our advisors can help you make a claim for stress and anxiety caused by a data breach. Contact us today for free legal advice with no strings attached.

What Are Data Breaches?

A data breach is a security incident that compromises the integrity, confidentiality or availability of information that could identify you, such as your name, date of birth, or email address. This is known as personal data.

The UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA) are data two of the main articles of legislation that dictate how organisations should act to keep the personal data of UK residents safe. If there is a failure to comply with these regulations, a data breach can occur, which can cause harm to your mental health.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) are an independent UK body that holds companies accountable for breaching personal data protection laws. They are able to investigate data breaches and fine companies for their misconduct. Alongside this, the ICO also display key statistics and advice for data controllers and processors.

A data controller is an organisation that decides how and why to use your personal data, whereas a data processor carries out these actions on the controller’s behalf.

To learn more about the data breach claims process, call our team of advisors today.

Could A Data Breach Trigger Anxiety?

There are a variety of ways that a personal data breach could trigger anxiety. For example, if your banking details are compromised either accidentally or unlawfully, criminals can use this information to commit identity fraud or steal money from your account. This can cause significant anxiety.

Or if a document containing your home address is exposed. This can leave you suffering from anxiety caused by a data breach, worrying that your safety is at risk. Additionally, if you were a witness to a crime and a witness GDPR data breach that compromised your personal data occurred, you could suffer from anxiety following this as you may be worried that the perpetrator of the crime knows your personal information. All of these examples could lead to anxiety or further mental health harm.

These are just a few examples of how a personal data breach could occur, leading to anxiety or other psychological harm. To learn more, get in touch with our team today.

Can You Claim For Anxiety Caused By A Data Breach?

The UK GDPR and the DPA state that there must be wrongful conduct on the part of the data controller or data processor in order for you to make a data breach claim. You must have also suffered harm to make a claim for data breach compensation.

If a breach occurs that could have an effect on your freedoms or rights, the organisation is legally obligated to inform you without undue delay and to report it to the ICO within 72 hours. However, if you don’t receive notification but still believe a breach has occurred, you can contact the organisation yourself and request more information.

If they don’t reply, or if the reply is not satisfactory, you can make a complaint to the ICO. As we mentioned earlier, the ICO does not provide compensation, but they may investigate the breach. Furthermore, correspondence between you and ICO can be used as evidence to strengthen your claim.

To find out if your claim meets the criteria set out by data protection legislation, contact our advisors today.

Is There An Average Payout For Anxiety Caused By A Data Breach?

Personal data breach claims can be made up of two heads of compensation. These are material damage and non-material damage. Material damage provides compensation for the financial losses caused by the breach, whereas non-material damage addresses the psychological impacts, such as anxiety caused by a data breach.

Every personal data breach claim is unique. Because of this, there is no average payout for anxiety caused by a data breach. However, there are still some ways in which you can get an estimate of what your claim may be worth.

See below for a table that highlights compensation brackets from the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG). The JCG is often used by legal professionals to value compensation claims, as it provides guideline compensation amounts for a variety of physical and mental illnesses. 

Injury Compensation Bracket Notes
Severe Psychiatric Harm (a) £54,830 – £115,730 The injured person will struggle to cope with life and suffer from future vulnerability with a poor prognosis.
Moderately Severe Psychiatric Harm (b) £19,070 – £54,830 Factors are similar to those above, but the prognosis is more optimistic.
Moderate Psychiatric Harm (c) £5,860 – £19,070 Issues remain regarding the ability to cope with work, education and life overall, but the prognosis is good to due to improved symptoms by trial.
Less Severe Psychiatric Harm (d) £1,540 – £5,860 Daily activities are still affected, and consideration is given to the length of time affected.
Severe PTSD (a) £59,860 – £100,670 Permanent effects will prevent the injured person from working and recovering near the pre-trauma state.
Moderately Severe PTSD (b) £23,150 – £59,860 Significant disability progresses into the foreseeable future, though the prognosis is improved with professional help.
Moderate PTSD (c) £8,180 – £23,150 Continuing effects are not wholly disabling though daily life is still impacted.
Less Severe PTSD (d) £3,950 – £8,180 Most injuries can be recovered from within two years, though some minor symptoms will persist.

Before the Vidal-Hall and Others v Google Inc [2015] case, claims for non-material damage had to come alongside claims for material damage. However, since the ruling of this case, you may now claim for non-material damage alone or at the same time as material damage.

Please note that the figures above are guidelines only. Call us today for an estimate of what your anxiety caused by a data breach claim may be worth.

Contact Us To Find Out About No Win No Fee Claims

Starting a personal data breach claim can seem daunting. It can be a complex area of law and can sometimes be hard to understand. However, a solicitor from our panel may be able to help. Our panel work on a No Win No Fee basis, which means you can get access to legal representation through a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) with no upfront fees or costs.

If you’re successful in gaining a settlement, your solicitor takes a success fee. This will be taken from your compensation total as a percentage with a legal cap. However, should your claim be unsuccessful, you do not pay for your solicitor’s services.

You can contact our team today to learn more about how a solicitor from our panel could help you. You can reach us by:


We’ve included some resources here that may assist you with your claim.

You can see more of our data breach guides here:

Thank you for reading our guide on anxiety caused by a data breach. Contact our advisors if you require any further support.

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