How Do I Make A Claim For Stress Due To A Data Breach?

By Danielle Nicholson. Last Updated 13th February 2024. Stress can be a part of normal modern life, but when you are suffering from acute stress due to a data breach, it can feel like your whole world is falling apart. Every day we share our personal information either on or offline and we trust that those who use it do so safely. In fact, there are laws now which expect organisations and businesses to take care of our personal data. If they fail, they can suffer severe penalties and you can sue them for compensation.

You may be reading this because you have already been notified about a data breach that has affected you. Usually, companies will notify you in writing if they have suffered a hack or virus that has exposed customer details in a way that could cause harm. That harm might be financial, through the loss of funds from your accounts, or emotional from the aggravation and stress.

This article aims to help you have a greater understanding of how stress from a data breach is understood and what you can do about it. Our friendly team of data breach advisors could offer you the free legal advice needed to start a claim for compensation right now. Simply call us on 0161 696 9685 for instant, confidential help. You can also email or write to us at Advice.co.uk or use the ‘live support’ option bottom right. We look forward to helping you.

a woman looking stressed due to a data breach

Select A Section

  1. Calculate Compensation For Stress Due To A Data Breach
  2. What Is Personal Data And How Is It Protected?
  3. When Could You Make A Personal Data Breach Claim?
  4. Make A No Win No Fee Claim For Stress Due To A Data Breach
  5. Related Guides

Calculate Compensation For Stress Due To A Data Breach

The figures below are a cross-section of General Damages from the Judicial College Guidelines. They provide recommended compensation amounts for a head to toe array of injuries and illnesses. They aim to financially acknowledge impacts that might differ from person to person in a way that keeps it consistent and fair, such as:

  • The pain and suffering the data breach caused you
  • Damage to your personal relationships because of stress
  • Loss of income through missed work or an inability to cope as normal
  • Increased likelihood of other health problems

After a landmark case called Vidal-Hall v Google, the law adapted its position on compensation for a data breach. Previously, it was necessary to prove financial harm in order to support a claim for emotional harm. Now, you can claim for either or both with the right evidence. So for injuries suffered due to data breaches they are now looked on as personal injury claims. So you can claim for material damage and non-material damage this is equivalent to special and general damages.

However, the top row is not from the JCG but is included to show you how much a data breach claim could be worth if claiming for very serious mental health harm plus material damage.

InjuryEffectsSuggested Award
Severe psychological injuries plus material lossesSettlements may include compensation for very severe psychological injuries, plus material expenses, including lost wages and damage to the claimant's credit score.Up to £250,000+
Psychiatric damage - severeExtreme and lasting problems chronically affecting many areas of life.£54,830 to £115,730
Psychiatric damage - moderately severeSignificant problems like trouble working that results in loss of ability to work.£19,070 to £54,830
Psychiatric damage - less severePhobic responses, nightmares sleep disturbances, mild depression, anxiety£1,540 to £5,860
PTSD - severeInability to function at work or in life as normal. Symptoms include nightmares and acute anxiety.£59,860 to £100,670
PTSD - moderately severeRecovery possible but disabilities for foreseeable future with poor prognosis of recovery£23,150 to £59,860
PTSD - moderateLargely recovered but some lingering and persisting symptoms, even with therapy.£8,180 to £23,150
PTSD - less severeMinor symptoms but mostly recovered within 2 years.£3,950 to £8,180

Your No Win No Fee lawyer can help arrange a psychiatric evaluation to prove your claims of stress due to a data breach. The findings of this independent assessment can then enable your lawyer to aim for the highest compensation amount appropriate. Why not speak with us now for more help on how this could work for you. The free legal advice on offer might make all the difference to your claim.

Material Damage Which Could Be Awarded

Material damage can be looked at as the financial harm that has been caused by the breach. If for example, you suffered psychological stress at work from a data breach, you may be unable to function normally. This means you might need time off and if it’s unpaid, you may notice a sudden financial burden. Furthermore, this could impact your ability to pay for childcare, causing serious disruption to your family life.

PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorder) symptoms can be absolutely devastating, leaving the victim completely immobilised and emotionally unable to cope with the smallest task.

When you consult with a No Win No Fee data breach solicitor, they can offer guidance on how to collect together proof of all these missing costs. Using bills, receipts and other forms of tangible evidence, they could compile a true picture of the financial damage the data breach caused.

What Is Personal Data And How Is It Protected?

In the UK, the Data Protection Act 2018 and the UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR) sit together to define what personal data is and form data protection laws regarding how it should be protected.

Article 4 of the UK GDPR states that personal data means any information relating to an identified or identifiable person, otherwise known as a data subject. This means that personal data is any information that can be used to identify you directly or in combination with other information. Personal data can include:

  • Name.
  • Identification number, such as a national insurance number.
  • Personal email address.
  • Postal address.

Some personal data is considered to be extra sensitive and, therefore, needs extra protection. This is known as special category data and can include:

  • Racial or ethnic origin.
  • Political opinions.
  • Religious or philosophical beliefs.

A personal data breach occurs when information that can identify you as the subject is unlawfully destroyed, lost, altered, disclosed, transmitted, stored or accessed without authorisation. It is considered to be a security incident.

This could occur accidentally through human error or unlawfully through criminal activity, such as hacking. The organisation processing your personal data must take steps to protect it, such as ensuring that cybersecurity systems are robust and making sure that staff with personal data access are trained in data security compliance.

There are specific eligibility criteria that you must satisfy in order to have good grounds to make a personal data breach claim. We will discuss this in the next section.

Contact our advisors today if you have any questions regarding personal data breaches.

A central white post-it note saying 'data breach' surrounded by pink post-its with question marks.

When Could You Make A Personal Data Breach Claim?

Any organisation that processes your personal data must comply with data protection laws in order to keep it safe.

To be eligible to make a claim following a personal data breach, you will need to meet the following criteria:

  • The data breach occurred because the data controller or processor failed to comply with data protection laws. A data controller is generally an organisation. They determine for what purpose data is to be processed and how to go about processing personal data. They may instruct a controller to carry out the processing.
  •  Your personal data was compromised in the data breach due to a data controller or processor’s failure to comply with data protection laws.
  • As a result of this personal data breach, you suffered harm. This harm could be financial losses, such as funds stolen from your bank account or mental health problems, such as stress due to a data breach.

Get in touch with our advisory team to discuss whether you could be eligible to make a claim if you suffered financial or mental harm following a personal data breach.

Make A No Win No Fee Claim For Stress Due To A Data Breach

With a No Win No Fee lawyer helping you, it is possible to collect all the relevant details and present a much larger-scale claim for damages.

No Win No Fee agreements can be used to fund your legal representation. There are no upfront fees needed to hire a No Win No Fee solicitor, none to pay as the case moves ahead and still nothing to pay if the case is unsuccessful.

Data breach solicitors under agreements like this take a small percentage from the overall settlement at the conclusion of successful cases only. This means you can relax in the knowledge that it’s in their best interest also to get the best possible result.

Thank you for reading our guide on stress due to a data breach. Call our team today for guidance to free legal advice by:

A No Win No Fee lawyer is ready to help you claim for stress due to a data breach.

Related Guides

Have you suffered an injury on a train – this guide may help you.

Criminal Injury compensation – have you suffered an injury due to a criminal attack? This guide may help you.

Have you suffered a foot injury – this guide may help you.

Other Data Breach Guides

Finally, these Government websites offer helpful advice on how to protect your personal data better in the future and there’s a more detailed overview of the Data Protection Act available here. Please use this link to learn more about PTSD and its impact on your health.

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Published by AL.