This guide will discuss when you might be eligible to make a family data breach compensation claim. This type of data breach could occur for various reasons, including personal data breached by social services or a school.
Data controllers and data processors have a responsibility as per data protection law to protect your personal data. A data controller decides how and when your data is processed and may also process it themselves. A data processor acts on behalf of the data controller.
As data controllers, social services and schools must adhere to data protection law. If they fail to do so, causing your personal data to be compromised, you may be able to claim. However, you would need to prove that you sustained psychological harm or financial damage as a result of the personal data breach.
This guide will explore examples of a family data breach and the steps you can take if one occurs, such as gathering evidence and seeking legal advice.
Additionally, we will explore what your settlement could comprise following a successful claim.
For more information, contact our advisors today. They are available to help you 24 hours, 7 days a week.
To get in touch, you can:
Select A Section
- My Family’s Personal Data Has Been Breached, Can I Claim?
- How Could A Family Data Breach Happen?
- The Impact Of Data Breaches On A Family
- When Could You Make A Family Data Breach Compensation Claim?
- Family Data Breach Compensation Calculator
- Talk To Us About A Family Data Breach Compensation Claim
The UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GPDR) and a version of the Data Protection Act 2018 that was updated after the UK left the European Union set out the responsibilities a data controller and processor have to protect your personal data.
The UK GDPR sets out the key principles for processing personal data and defines a personal data breach as a security breach that results in personal data being accidentally or unlawfully lost, destroyed or altered. It can also result in personal data being accessed or disclosed without authorisation.
If an organisation has a data breach, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) may launch an investigation. They are responsible for upholding the rights and freedoms of individuals and ensuring organisations adhere to data protection law.
Personal data is information that can identify someone. This can be either directly or in combination with other information. It can include data such as your name, postal address, passwords and bank account information.
When making a family data breach compensation claim, you have to prove that your personal data breach was compromised as a result of a data controller’s or processor’s failings. Furthermore, you must also prove that you have suffered financial damage or a psychological injury due to the breach of your personal data.
Contact our team today to learn more about the right the UK GDPR gives you to make a data breach claim.
There are various ways a family data breach could happen, such as due to human error or an external intrusion such as a cyber attack. There can be both physical and digital breaches of personal data.
Some examples of how a physical data breach could happen include:
- Your child’s school leave a file containing information about their foster care arrangements on a desk, resulting in an unauthorised public member reading it. As a result, your child’s personal data could be compromised in a school data breach.
- Your university counsellor throws away documents containing sensitive data, but they don’t properly dispose of it, meaning it is accessed by someone without authorisation. As a result, you may experience psychological harm due to a university data breach.
Some examples of a digital data breach include:
- A staff member at your child’s nursery sends an email to the wrong parent with information regarding your child’s health. As a result, you may experience distress due to a nursery data breach.
- The social services may have failed to keep their security systems up to date leaving them more susceptible to a cyber attack. As a result, information on your family’s case may have been stolen in a ransomware attack.
Contact our team for more information on whether you’re eligible to claim family data breach compensation.
Family data breaches could have an impact on various areas of a person’s life. For example, if someone has unlawfully accessed your personal data, they could potentially steal your identity. This could lead to them taking loans out in your name, gaining access to your debit or credit card details and having an impact on your credit score. As such, you could experience financial losses that continue to impact you in the future.
Additionally, you could suffer psychologically from the damage of having your or your child’s information stolen. For example, if sensitive data is accessed without authorisation, such as that concerning your child’s health or religion, it could have an impact on both your and your child’s well being.
Alternatively, your personal data could be compromised in a social services data breach, meaning information about your family is breached. This could result in different psychological suffering, such as stress, depression or an anxiety disorder.
In some cases, you may be able to claim compensation for the impact the breach has had on you. Contact our advisors to find out more about making a family data breach compensation claim.
Council And Local Authority Data Breach Statistics
According to the Cyber Security Breaches Survey, a cyber attack was identified by 39% of businesses in the UK. This was in comparison to:
- 46% in 2017
- 43% in 2018
- 32% in 2019
- 46% in 2020
- 39% in 2021
To make a claim for family data breach compensation, you must prove that a data processor’s or data controller’s failings caused your personal data to become compromised. As a result, you will have suffered psychological harm or damage to your finances.
Additionally, you must make your claim within the relevant time frame. Generally, you have 6 years to make a claim or 1 year if the claim is against a public body.
When making a claim following the breach of your personal data, there are two heads of claim that you could receive: material and non-material damages.
Material damages reimburse financial losses that have occurred because of the data breach. Non-material damages compensate for any mental harm you have experienced as a result of the personal data breach.
Previously, you could only could only claim for psychological harm if you had also suffered financial losses. However, after the Vidal-Hall v Google Inc (2015) case heard in the Court of Appeal, it was decided that claimants could seek compensation for mental health injuries without suffering from financial loss.
Non-material damages can be valued in accordance with the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG) bracket compensation amounts corresponding to different mental harm.
Below we have added a table using figures from the 16th edition of the JCG. However, the figures are not reflective of what you will receive in your settlement following a successful claim.
|Type of Psychological Damage||Notes||Amount|
|Psychiatric Damage Generally||(a) Severe - The person will have serious problems with being able to cope with life, education and work and will experience future vulnerability as well as a very poor prognosis.||£54,830 - £115,730|
|Psychiatric Damage Generally||(b) Moderately Severe - The person will still have significant issues to deal with but will have a better prognosis.||£19,070 - £54,830
|Psychiatric Damage Generally||(c) Moderate - The person will have a good prognosis.||£5,860 - £19,070|
|Psychiatric Damage Generally||(d) Less Severe - There will be considerations given to the extent to which sleep and daily activities were affected as well as other factors.||£1,540 - £5,860
|Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)||(a) Severe - The person will suffer permanent effects, preventing them from working or functioning the same as before the trauma.||£59,860 - £100,670|
|PTSD||(b) Moderately Severe - The person will have a better prognosis due to professional help.||£23,150 - £59,860|
|PTSD||(c) Moderate - The person will have recovered for the most part and any effects that continue won't be majorly disabling.||£8,180 - £23,150|
|PTSD||(d) Less Severe - A mostly full recovery within a couple of years.||£3,950 - £8,180|
For more information on the family data breach compensation you could receive, call our team.
If you are seeking family data breach compensation and would like to do so with legal representation, a No Win No Fee arrangement might benefit you. Our solicitors can offer a type of arrangement called a Conditional Fee Agreement.
Under this agreement, you won’t pay for your solicitor’s services:
- While your claim is ongoing
- If your claim fails
If your case is successful, you will pay a small success fee from your compensation. However, this fee is subject to a legal cap.
For more information about working with one of our solicitors, get in touch with our team. They can assess the validity of your claim. If your case meets the relevant criteria, an advisor could assign a solicitor to begin working on your case. Alternatively, you can contact our advisors if you have any questions regarding your potential claim.
To get in touch, you can:
Guides Related To Family Data Breach Compensation Claims
Below are some additional links that may be useful to you.
- Frequently Asked Questions For Data Breach
- Child Adoption Data Breach
- A Teacher Shared My Child’s Personal Data, Can I Claim?
- ICO: Understanding and assessing risk in personal data breaches
- ICO: Does an organisation need my consent?
- NCSC: Data Breaches: guidance for individuals and families
We hope this guide on making a family data breach compensation claim has helped. Call our team for more information.
Guide by MR
Edited by MM