Have you been the victim of a data breach because your employer lost documents containing your personal data? If so, this guide explains the steps you can take to seek compensation for the financial damage and emotional distress caused. At Advice.co.uk, we answer the crucial questions on data breach compensation.
- The introduction of key legislation protects personal data that has been processed.
- This legislation dictates the eligibility criteria for personal data breach claims.
- The employer is considered a data controller and must protect the personal data they process.
- Compensation for personal data breach claims can cover financial damage as well as emotional suffering
- The independent watchdog for data protection can launch an investigation into a data breach, and their findings may help in your claim.
- A No Win No Fee data breach solicitor from our panel could help you.
Simply speak to an advisor for a free case check by calling 0161 696 9685. We’re available 7 days a week 24 hours a day. You can also contact us online for a free case check of your eligibility to claim data breach compensation. Alternatively, try the live chat portal below to start a conversation immediately.
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- How Advice Could Help You Start A Claim For An Employer Data Breach
- Can You Claim For A Data Breach If Your Employer Lost Documents Containing Your Personal Information?
- How Could An Employer Have Lost Documents Containing Personal Information?
- Potential Compensation For A Lost Files Data Breach
- What Could You Do After An Employer Has Lost Documents Containing Personal Information?
- Claim Employer Data Breach Compensation Using A No Win No Fee Solicitor
- More Resources About Claiming For A Data Breach Of Employee Information
Call our advisers now for free they will provide an informal assessment of your case. If it seems like a strong claim, the team will connect you to a No Win No Fee solicitor from our panel of experts. Our panel of solicitors have decades of experience and specialise in:
- Giving you a realistic idea of the amount of compensation you may be owed.
- Collecting evidence to strengthen your case.
- Making sure that important case documents are sent and received on time.
- Explaining any complex legal terminology and points of law.
- Professionally presenting data breach claims on behalf of their clients.
These services are offered under a version of the No Win No Fee agreement which means no fees are needed to start work with a solicitor in this way. We explain more about this in the sections below, but if you have any questions so far please call the number above.
Can You Claim For A Data Breach If Your Employer Lost Documents Containing Your Personal Information?
Before we discuss whether your claim is eligible, it is important to understand some fundamental points. Firstly, the independent watchdog for data protection rights is called the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). They describe personal data as information that can be used on its own or with other details to reveal your identity.
Personal data includes name, address, contact numbers, emails, date of birth, and credit and debit card data. Special category data is a form of personal data that is considered more sensitive such as health records. Your employer will process a lot of your personal data as well as your personally sensitive information. Therefore, they will be considered a data controller.
Two groups that are responsible for the protection of your personal data under law are data controllers and processors. A controller will say the means and purpose for the processing of your personal data; they can choose to process it in-house or use a third party known as a data processor. Below are the two main laws that these entities must comply with:
These laws outline correct data processing obligations. A personal data breach is described as a loss, unlawful destruction, alteration, duplication, or unauthorised access of personal data, either in digital or paper format. A valid claim for a data breach therefore needs to show the following:
- Your employer failed to adhere to data protection laws,
- This led to a data breach that involved your personal information, and
- You suffered financially and/or mentally as a result.
Data breach is a complex area, so for help with your particular circumstances, why not speak to an advisor? It’s free, carries no obligation and they are available 24/7 on the number above.
Next, we look at some of the ways that an employer could have lost documents containing your personal information in a data breach:
- Your employer loses a memory stick that contains all employees’ contracts in digital form.
- An employer leaves a laptop containing HR digital files on a train
- Files containing copies of employees’ payslips are thrown away in the general waste by mistake
- Health records or sickness information files are left in a public place by mistake
- Accidental actions such as deleting the wrong files.
Wrongful conduct can occur because of innocent human error or deliberate actions, but not every data breach is automatically the fault of your employer. To clarify the grounds for your claim, speak to one of our advisors first.
If you make a successful personal data breach claim after your employer loses documents containing your personal information you could be awarded compensation for material and non-material damage.
Once personal data is in the public domain it can be possible to suffer significant worry and stress about who might access it. This can create anxiety because of the breach, depression or even acute responses such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Mental suffering is known as non-material damage which you can be compensated for.
To apply a value, medical evidence and the guideline amounts listed in the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG) can be used. The guideline brackets listed in this resource are not intended to be guaranteed compensation amounts, merely guidelines. We include an excerpt below:
Award Bracket Guidelines
|Type of Psychological Injury||Severity||Definition||Award Brackets|
|General Psychiatric Harm||(A) Severe||A severe psychological reaction that indicates a poor prospect for recovery. The award will take into account injured person's ability to cope with life, education and work, effects on work or studies, whether treatment is successful and future vulnerability.||£54,830 to £115,730|
|(B) Moderately Severe||Again the claimant will suffer with the impacts mentioned in the severe category however there is a better prognosis here for some recovery.||£19,070 to £54,830|
|(C) Moderate||A distinct improvement seen by the time the case may need to be heard at trial.||£5,860 to £19,070|
|(D) Less Severe||Duration of illness is considered in this bracket.||Up to £5,860|
|Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)||(A) Severe||An extreme trauma response that impacts all parts of the person's life permanently.||£59,860 to £100,670|
|(B) Moderately Severe||A better prognosis after professional counselling.||£23,150 to £59,860|
|(C) Moderate||A recovery on the whole with persisting symptoms being manageable.||£8,180 to £23,150|
|(D) Less Severe||Within a 2 year period virtually a full recovery seen and only minor issues persisting.||Up to £8,180
Claiming For Data Loss – Examples Of Material Damage
Material damage refers to the financial losses that you suffered due to the data breach. So, if you can present receipts, invoices, payslips or other documentation that proves monetary loss, these could form part of your claim as well. Some examples include:
- Proof that money was stolen from your bank account.
- Damage to your credit score or business reputation.
- Loss of earnings.
If you get in touch, our advisors can help explain material and non-material damage in person. They might also be able to connect you with a member of our panel of solicitors.
There are proactive things that you can do if your employer loses documents in a personal data breach. Below we provide a checklist of tips and actions:
- Collect correspondence between you and the employer about the breach. All organisations need to inform data subjects of a breach that could impact their rights and freedoms as soon as possible and this correspondence can be used as evidence.
- If you suspect a data breach, you can ask your employer for a response.
- If you are not satisfied with your employer’s response, wait no longer than 3 months before contacting the ICO. Beyond this, the ICO may consider the matter resolved. Please note that the ICO cannot pay compensation, but if they investigate, their findings could strengthen your claim.
- Have your mental health issues assessed by a professional. Our panel of solicitors can help arrange this for you.
- Gather all the evidence of material loss, even paperwork that you are not sure qualifies. If you have a valid claim and choose to work with a solicitor, they may notice something in your paperwork that you didn’t.
- As you await the outcome of these actions, you are completely free to seek independent legal help about starting a compensation claim.
Our panel of data breach solicitors can offer their services to eligible claimants through a type of No Win No Fee agreement. They typically offer a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) that benefits you in several ways.
Firstly, no upfront or ongoing charges apply to start work with the solicitor. Should the claim be unsuccessful, you are not obligated to pay for your solicitor’s services. If the claim wins, you pay a capped percentage ‘success fee’ from the award.
In a contract like this, you always benefit the most if the claim wins. To learn more about how we could help or connect you to a No Win No Fee data breach solicitor after your employer lost documents:
In addition to what you can do after an employer loses your documents, below is further reading on data breach claims:
- Read more on data breach claims for lost records.
- What is needed to claim for stress because of a data breach?
- What happens after an accidental data breach by an employer? Read more here.
These external resources offer more:
- A guide to the UK GDPR from the ICO.
- The National Cyber Security Centre gives guidance for individuals and families to protect data.
- Also, from the ICO, read the benefits of data protection laws for UK citizens.
Thank you for taking the time to read our guide. If you have any other questions, just call the number above at a time that suits you.