In this guide, we explore if you can make a claim for the harm suffered if files were lost in a data breach that contained your personal information.
We’ll explore how your files could be lost. In addition, we’ll examine human error and how organisations could train their staff to prevent data breaches. We take a look at what personal data could be held by public bodies and private companies. Additionally, we’ll examine the consequences you could experience if a data breach compromises your information.
If your personal data is compromised, you might be eligible for compensation. Specific eligibility criteria apply, however. We examine what this is. Then we’ll take a look at what data breach compensation you could claim.
We conclude this guide with an explanation of No Win No Fee arrangements. You might find hiring a No Win No Fee solicitor beneficial for your claim.
If your personal data was compromised due to files lost in a data breach, our advisors are standing by to help you with the next steps.
To speak to a member of our data breach advisory team:
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- How Do I Claim Compensation For A Data Breach?
- How Could Your Files Be Lost In A Data Breach?
- What Sort Of Data Is Held By Public Bodies And Companies?
- Who Could Make A Files Lost Data Breach Claim
- My Files Were Lost In A Data Breach; How Much Could I Claim?
- Start Your Claim Today
Two key pieces of legislation govern data protection. These are the UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR) along with the Data Protection Act 2018. Together, they define what a personal data breach is. They also set out how organisations should protect your personal data.
In addition, they determine what is protected data. Some data is sensitive in nature. This is known as special category data and is given additional protection. The legislation also sets out personal data breach compensation eligibility criteria.
The UK GDPR defines a personal data breach as a security incident. If files were lost in a data breach, it could affect the confidentiality, availability and integrity of your personal data.
Contact our advisors for more information if your paperwork has been lost and you believe a data breach occurred.
Human error could result in files lost in a data breach. Organisations could ensure their staff are trained in data protection to reduce the number of data breaches. They could also have policies in place to ensure paperwork containing personal data is destroyed using the right channels.
A data breach could also occur due to unauthorised destruction or misplacing of paperwork. Organisations could have policies in place ensuring files are secured to avoid a data breach. In addition to this, they could have policies surrounding paperwork destruction.
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is an independent body set up to help protect data security. As part of their role, they collect data security trends statistics. The data is reliant upon a data controller reporting an incident to the ICO. In the fourth quarter of the 2021/22 financial year:
- The ICO received 9 reports of incorrect paperwork disposal.
- They also received 140 reports of paperwork loss/theft or data left in an insecure location.
Free legal advice is available from our data breach team should an organisation misplace or lose your data.
Organisations keep physical paperwork as well as digital files. Lost paperwork can result in data breach claims. For example, your personal data could be contained on a USB stick left on a train or in an unsecured location; there is the risk that your personal information can now be viewed by those without the authority to see it. It could also be stolen.
If you have children and your files are lost in a data breach containing family data, it could even result in safeguarding issues.
Organisations may keep paper files of the following:
- Customer files and customer records
- Employee files and employee records, including disciplinary files
- Medical records
- Criminal records
Lost paperwork may contain:
- Email address
- Phone number
- Date of birth
- Bank account number and sort code
- Debit and credit information
It could also contain special category data:
- Race or ethnic background
- Political beliefs
- Religious or philosophical background
- Trade union membership
- Genetic information
- Health records
- Sex life and orientation
Free legal advice is available from our advisors if your files were lost in a data breach.
Article 82 of the UK GDPR gives you the right to claim compensation. However, you must meet the eligibility criteria:
- Firstly, it must be proven that the organisation did not comply with data protection legislation.
- Your personal data must have been included in the breach.
- Lastly, you must be able to prove you suffered, either financially or experienced a psychological injury.
Contact our advisors to learn what evidence could be submitted in data breach claims.
Two heads could form your data breach compensation. Firstly, you could claim material damage. In addition, you can claim non-material damage for mental injuries such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) due to the breach.
Due to the precedent-setting Court of Appeal ruling in the Vidal-Hall and others v. Google Inc. (2015) case, you can claim non-material damage without claiming material damage. Prior to this case, you could only claim for your stress due to a data breach if you also claimed for financial loss.
Legal professionals use the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG) to help assign value to personal injury claims. This same document will be used to help value your mental suffering in a data breach claim. It provides a set of compensation brackets alongside injuries, this includes mental health injuries.
Below, we’ve provided examples of psychological injuries from the latest edition, published in April 2022.
|Psychological Illness||Category||Bracket Amounts||Comments|
|Stress and Anxiety Syndrome||Severe||£59,860 to £100,670||A permanent inability to function as before. This has a bad impact on all areas of life.|
|Stress and Anxiety Syndrome||Moderately severe||£23,150 to £59,860||Severe symptoms lasting into the foreseeable future occurs, however, professional help may result in some recovery.|
|Stress and Anxiety Syndrome||Moderate||£8,180 to £23,150||The claimant largely experiences a recovery, but some symptoms continue. However these are not major.|
|Stress and Anxiety Syndrome||Less severe||£3,950 to £8,180||The claimant experiences virtually a full recovery but may still experience minor symptoms beyond one to two years.|
|Psychological Suffering||Severe||£54,830 to £115,730||The claimant experiences severe issues with all areas of life. The symptoms are of a permanent nature.|
|Psychological Suffering||Moderately severe||£19,070 to £54,830||Significant problems coping in personal relationships and with life occur, however, there is room for some recovery in the future.|
|Psychological Suffering||Moderate||£5,860 to £19,070||Problems with personal relationships and life, but the claimant experiences improvements and the prognosis is good.|
|Psychological Suffering||Less severe||£1,540 to £5,860||The claimant has experienced issues with daily life.|
Speak to our advisors to learn more about damages in data breach claims.
To ensure your claim is filed in full, you might like to hire a data breach solicitor. You cannot reopen your claim once a settlement has been agreed upon. This applies even if more damages become apparent.
A No Win No Fee data breach solicitor could provide their services under a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). Your No Win No Fee solicitor won’t charge an upfront solicitors fee. If your claim is successful, a success fee will be taken from your award to pay for their services. However, if your data breach claim isn’t successful, you will not have to pay a success fee.
Our advisors can discuss your files lost in a data breach. Should you experience a data breach and need free legal advice, why not give our data breach advisory team a call?
To speak to a member of our team:
Helpful Resources If Your Files Were Lost In A Data Breach
- Government Guide to Making a Data Protection Complaint
- ICO Claiming Compensation Guide
- NHS Stress Guide
Guides to Other Types of Personal Data Breach Claims
- Can I Make An Employer Data Breach Claim?
- Data Breach Via Text Message Can I Claim?
- How Much Data Breach Compensation Can I Claim?
- Lost Records Data Breach Compensation Claims
- What Happens After An Accidental Data Breach By An Employer?
- I Suffered A Text Message Data Breach – Can I Claim?
- How To Claim If Your Files Were Lost In A Data Breach
- Can I Claim For A Breach Of Sickness Information At Work?
- Frequently Asked Questions On Data Breach Claims