This guide will look at the steps you can take if you are affected by a hospital data breach.
We start by looking at the laws which protect personal data and set the legal obligations that must be adhered to when processing it. We explore how organisations could be liable to compensate you if their wrongful conduct leads to your personal data being involved in a data breach and this causes you financial or mental harm.
In addition to this, our article examines some of the ways a hospital data breach could happen. We detail what sort of evidence can support your data breach claim and improve any ultimate settlement. In the final sections, we explain the benefits of being represented by a data breach solicitor from our panel.
The first step is to establish that you are eligible to claim for the hospital data breach. So to learn more, either carry on reading or:
- Call us on 0161 696 9685 to access free information 24/7.
- Use our online ‘contact us’ form to see what your claim might be worth.
- Speak to our advisors via the live chat feature.
Browse Our Guide
- When Are You Able To Claim For A Hospital Data Breach?
- Examples Of A Hospital Data Breach
- Hospital Data Breach Compensation – What Could You Receive?
- What Should You Do If You’ve Suffered A Patient Data Breach?
- A Hospital Breached My Data, Can I Make A No Win No Fee Claim?
- Learn More About Data Breach Compensation Claims
An eligible data breach claim needs to show that a data controller or processor did not comply with data protection law. And that because of this wrongful conduct, your personal data was breached, and it caused you harm. This can be either financial, emotional or both.
The data controller, often an organisation, makes the decision as to how and why personal data is processed. In this instance, this would be the hospital. The hospital could choose to process internally or outsource to a data processor.
Both parties must comply with the UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR), and Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA). An independent watchdog called the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) can investigate and issue fines against an organisation that fails to comply with these data processing legal obligations.
The ICO describe personal data as information that reveals your identity. This broadly includes name, postal address, phone number, bank card details and email address. Other personal data related to health, religious beliefs and ethnicity is classed as special category data and requires a higher level of care when being processed.
To make a data breach compensation claim you need to fulfil these criteria:
- An organisation failed to comply with the laws that govern data protection.
- This allowed personal data relating to your health to be comprised in a breach, and
- Because of this, you suffered mentally and/or financially.
A personal data breach is a security incident that has impacted the confidentiality, accessibility and integrity of your personal information, but not all instances of data breach mean the hospital will be at fault.
To find out if you can make a hospital data breach claim call our advisors now for free advice.
There are a variety of potential ways that a hospital data breach could occur. For example:
- You completed a subject access request for your medical records, and they were sent to the wrong postal address despite having the correct details on file.
- Due to weak cyber security systems, the hospital’s database is hacked.
- Hospital staff fail to secure your paperwork or digital information in a secure location. This allows lost records to be accessed by unauthorised people.
- A verbal disclosure of your personal data between staff and others causes a breach.
- Your patient notes are emailed or faxed to the wrong person.
There could be numerous other ways that a hospital could potentially breach your data. To discuss the particular circumstances of your case, and get a better idea about your eligibility, get in touch with an advisor at the number above.
The data breach compensation payout awarded after a successful claim can compensate for two areas of damage.
Firstly, non-material damage for the psychological distress suffered due to the breach. Knowing that personal details and medical information are now in the public domain can cause a significant level of distress and anguish. Therefore, a legal professional could compare any medical proof of this with award guidelines listed in the publication: the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG). An excerpt is below to illustrate:
Award Bracket Guidance Examples
|Type of Psychological Harm||Notes||Severity||Award Bracket Guideline|
|General Psychiatric & Psychological Harm||Significant and permanent issues in areas of work, education and personal relationships. Poor outlook indicated.||(a) Severe||£54,830 to £115,730|
|A more positive prognosis but still issues in areas of work, education and personal relationships.||(b) Moderately Severe||£19,070 to £54,830|
|There will be marked improvements and the prognosis will be good.||(c) Moderate||£5,860 to £19,070|
|Awards in this bracket are contingent on the duration of illness.||(d) Less Severe||Up to £5,860|
|Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)||A far-reaching trauma injury that damages everyday life for the person.||(a) Severe||£59,860 to £100,670|
|After professional counselling, an improvement is indicated.||(b) Moderately Severe||£23,150 to £59,860|
|Good recovery and remaining symptoms are manageable.||(c) Moderate||£8,180 to £23,150|
|Almost a complete recovery seen within a 2 year time frame and only minor symptoms continuing beyond this.||(d) Less Severe||Up to £8,180|
Each claim is unique, and settlements differ so it should be noted that these amounts are guides only.
Material Losses In Data Breach Claims
In addition to non-material damage, you could claim for material damage. This acknowledges the financial harm caused by the data breach. To include this in your claim, it is essential to put forward documented proof of expense or loss, such as wage slips and invoices. You could be able to show:
- Loss of past and future earnings.
- Stolen money from your bank account.
- Damage to your credit score.
Our team of advisors can offer a more detailed assessment of your claim if you get in touch. They can answer any questions you may have about material and non-material damage in a free, no-obligation call.
There are several actions available after becoming aware that a hospital breached your data. You can:
- Collect all correspondence between yourself, the hospital or outside company involved. Emails and letters about the security incident and data breach are evidence, and all organisations must notify you about a breach that impacts your rights and freedoms.
- If you suspect your health data has been breached but you have received no notification you can contact the hospital and ask if your data has been breached.
- Should the hospital fail to respond to your data breach concerns, you have 3 months from your last meaningful communication with them to request the ICO get involved. This has no bearing on your rights to start a claim for damages. Importantly, the ICO may or may not investigate your complaint. They cannot pay compensation, but the findings of any investigation could be used as evidence.
- Have a professional assess the level of psychological harm you have suffered and get a copy of their findings.
- Provide evidence of any monetary losses incurred because of the hospital breach.
- Consider legal help as you wait for the outcome of these actions.
Provided above is a list of evidence that could be collected if you wanted to make a personal data breach claim. For more information on what to do after a hospital breaches your data, get in touch with the team on the contact options above.
At Advice.co.uk we work with a panel of data breach solicitors who are highly skilled at handling claims such as this. You might have reservations about the cost of working with data breach specialist lawyers. However, if your case is eligible, our advisors could connect you with a No Win No Fee solicitor.
Our panel of solicitors offer a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) which is a particular version of a No Win No Fee contract. This contract typically means that you don’t have to pay any solicitor fees for them to start work on your case or as your claim develops over the weeks ahead.
More than this, there is no fee requested for completed work if the claim is unsuccessful. A case that does have a successful conclusion only requires you to pay a small percentage success fee from your compensation. This is subject to a legislative cap and means the bulk of the award always goes directly to you.
See how this could work for you:
- Call us 24/7 on 0161 696 9685 about your hospital data breach claim.
- Contact us online to get your potential claim valued.
- Use the live chat portal below.
Here are some more of our own guides that could be of use to you when looking to make a data breach claim:
- Data breach claim guide for comprised credit and debit card details
- Learn about data breaches by text message claims.
- Has your mental health been made worse by a data breach?
We have also included further reading that may be able to assist you:
- Government advice on the rights of data subjects in the UK.
- ICO information about your right to access and data protection.
- Advice about stress symptoms from the NHS.
Thank you for reading our guide about the steps you could potentially take after a hospital data breach. If you have any questions about anything raised in this article, please don’t hesitate to get in touch for free, 24/7 on the contact options above.