This guide explains when a personal data breach compensation claim could be made if a school sent a letter to the wrong address affecting you or your child.
We begin by outlining the parties who have a responsibility to protect your personal data and the legislation they need to adhere to. Furthermore, we provide examples of how a school could send a letter to the wrong postal address and the effects this could have.
Evidence of a data breach and its impact is vital to a claim. As the guide progresses, you can see what proof could support your case.
We have also included an overview of data breach compensation payouts, looking at what they could comprise and how they are calculated.
Finally, we note how being connected with one of our expert No Win No Fee solicitors could help you and how the services they offer could benefit you.
Our advisors can explain everything in further detail for you, as well as offering a free assessment to see if you have valid grounds to start a data breach claim. Reach out today by:
- Phoning us on 0800 073 8801.
- Going to our web form to contact us.
- Using the live chat feature at the foot of this page.
Select A Section
- Could I Claim If A School Sent A Letter To The Wrong Address?
- Examples Of How A School Could Have Sent A Letter To The Wrong Address
- How To Prove A School Breached Your Personal Data
- What Could I Claim If A School Sent A Letter To The Wrong Address?
- How To Start Your Claim For A Data Breach By A School
- Learn More About Claiming If Your Data Was Sent To Another Person
The Data Protection Act 2018 as well as the UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR) are in place to protect the personal data of UK residents. Data controllers and processors must adhere to these pieces of data protection laws. Article 4 of UK GDPR provides definitions of controllers and processors:
- Data controller: Determining why and how personal data is processed. They can also process the data themselves.
- Data processor: If a data controller doesn’t process the personal data themselves, they can outsource the task to a data processor who can do so on the controller’s behalf.
If a data controller or processor did not abide by data protection laws, it could lead to a personal data breach. This can be defined as a security incident affecting personal data’s confidentiality, availability or integrity. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), an independent body that works to maintain public data rights and freedoms, sets out this definition.
You may be able to claim compensation for a personal data breach after a school sent a letter to the wrong address, if you meet the following requirements:
- The data controller and/or processor did not meet their obligations under data protection law.
- This resulted in a breach that affected your personal data.
- Because of this, you experienced mental harm, financial damage, or both.
A personal data breach claim must generally start within six years, though the time limit drops to one year if the claim is against a public body.
You can get more information on eligibility criteria and the time limits for data breach claims from our advisors.
Personal data is any information that can be used to identify you either directly or indirectly. This can include your name, postal address, credit or debit card details or phone number. Additionally, there is another type of personal data called special category data. This is more sensitive and requires extra protection. Examples can include data concerning your health.
There are several ways a school could have sent a letter to the wrong address affecting yours or your child’s personal data. Below, we have provided examples and highlighted the impact this could have on you or your child.
- A parent informs a school that they have moved address and that their ex-partner does not know where they now live. The school sends a letter with the parent’s personal information, including the new address, to the ex-partner by mistake. This could lead to distress and anxiety for the child and parent as well as financial loss due to having to relocate.
- A school sends a letter containing details about a child’s health condition to the wrong address. This results in the parents and child suffering distress.
- A parent’s debit card or credit card details may be processed by the school when payment has been made for school lunches or school trips. If this is breached, it could lead to the parent experiencing financial loss.
Please call to discuss your experience further and find out if you can pursue a personal data breach claim.
You must present evidence as part of your claim to show that the school sent a letter to the wrong address, and you or your child were affected as a result. For some examples, you could collect:
- Medical records that show how the personal data breach has affected you or your child psychologically. This could include a psychiatrist’s report or notes from your doctor.
- Documents highlighting financial loss caused by a breach. This could include lost earnings incurred because you needed to take time off work to care for your child. It could also include a credit card or bank statement showing how funds have been stolen from you.
- Correspondence with the school showing that a breach occurred and what personal data was affected.
The data controller must make you aware without undue delay if a personal data breach puts your rights and freedoms at risk. You can contact them if you believe there has been a breach and they haven’t been in touch.
If there has been no meaningful response from the school, you can raise complaint to the ICO. Should they investigate, you could present the outcome of this investigation as further evidence to support your claim.
Our data breach solicitors often help with evidence collection and can give key advice on how to present proof in the most effective way. Give our advisors a call if you would like to learn more about this part of the claims process.
Two forms of damage can be considered if you receive a payout after a successful personal data breach claim.
Firstly, non-material damage represents the mental harm caused by a breach. This can include anxiety, stress, or in more severe cases post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Legal professionals can value psychological injuries during a case using a document called the Judicial College Guidelines. We have captured compensation brackets related to psychological injuries in the table you can see below.
The amount awarded for non-material damage will depend on the facts of the case. Therefore, this table should only be used as a rough guide. With that being said, you can talk to an advisor over the phone for a detailed assessment of your case.
|£54,830 to £115,730
|The affected person has marked problems with factors like coping with life, education and work. Their prognosis is very poor.
|£19,070 to £54,830
|There are significant problems affecting similar areas of the person’s life to the bracket above. However, the prognosis is more optimistic.
|£5,860 to £19,070
|There has been marked improvement after some problems with various aspects of the person’s life. The prognosis is good.
|£1,540 to £5,860
|The amount awarded considers how long the period of disability is, and how much daily activities and sleep are affected.
|£59,860 to £100,670
|Cases feature permanent effects, preventing the affected person from working or even functioning at anything like their pre-trauma levels.
|£23,150 to £59,860
|The impacted person is likely to experience significant disability in the foreseeable future. However, the prognosis is better and professional help can bring about some recovery.
|£8,180 to £23,150
|Having largely recovered, the injured person will not experience ongoing effects that are grossly disabling.
|£3,950 to £8,180
|A virtually full recovery is completed in one to two years. Only minor symptoms persist over a longer period.
When Could Material Damage Compensation Be Awarded?
Alongside non-material damage, there is material damage. This refers to the financial loss the school data breach has caused you. If you suffered a monetary loss because financial details were breached or missed out on earnings because stress caused a work absence, you can prove it through bank statements or payslips, for example.
Please give us a call if you would like to know more about how compensation for a data breach is valued.
If a free evaluation from our advisors shows that you have an eligible claim, one of our experienced solicitors could take up your case under a particular No Win No Fee contract called a Conditional Fee Agreement.
This arrangement assures no payment for the solicitor’s work upfront or during the case. Also, a losing claim would mean you do not pay the solicitor for their services.
However, a winning claim would see your solicitor collect a small percentage of the compensation awarded to you. The Conditional Fee Agreements Order 2013 applies a cap to that percentage, but our solicitors will always talk to you about this fee – known as their success fee – in advance.
Get In Touch With Our Expert Team
You can get a free consultation today by contacting our advisors. As well as getting information about data breach claims against schools, you can ask any questions about the process and see if one of our solicitors could help you. To reach us, you can:
Here are some further guides for you:
- A guide exploring how to claim for a children’s services data breach affecting your personal data.
- Find out if you can sue a company for a data breach and the process involved in doing so.
- A guide looking at your rights after a university data breach and steps you could take to seek compensation.
These resources could also help:
- National Cyber Security Centre – Data breach guidance.
- GOV.UK – Data protection in schools information.
- ICO – Your right of access to personal data.
Thank you for reading our article on when you could claim for a data breach if a school sent a letter to the wrong address. If you have any other questions, please contact an advisor on the number above.