A Data Breach Made My Mental Health Problems Worse – Could I Claim?

If a personal data breach has made your mental health problems worse, you might wonder if you could be eligible to make a claim for compensation. In this guide, we’ll discuss the impacts data breaches could have on your psychological well being, as well as the circumstances under which you could claim.

data breach mental health problems worse

A guide on claiming if a data breach made your mental health problems worse

When your personal data is compromised, the incident could significantly impact your relationships and your ability to work. Aside from data breach distress, you may also be eligible to claim for the financial impacts of the breach.

The UK General Data Protection Regulation works alongside the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA). In the UK, these are the two main pieces of data protection legislation that are used to protect your personal data. According to this legislation, if you have suffered harm because of a personal data breach brought on by an organisation’s failings, you may be eligible to claim compensation.

Our personal data breach solicitors could help you through the claims process.

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What Are The Effects Of Data Breaches?

According to the UK GDPR, if the availability, security, or confidentiality of your personal data is affected in a security incident, this is a personal data breach. Personal data means any information that could be used to identify you, either alone or in conjunction with other information.

However, not all breaches of data protection law will result in a valid claim. To make a valid claim for a personal data breach, you must be able to answer yes to the following:

  • Did the breach affect your personal data?
  • Did it happen due to failure to comply with data protection law?
  • Did you suffer financial or psychological harm?

To learn more about who can claim if a data breach has made your mental health problems worse, contact our team today. 

What Mental Health Conditions Could Be Affected?

The impact of data breaches could be severe, particularly if you already suffer with existing mental health conditions. The level of disturbance and disruption a personal data breach may cause could exacerbate existing problems relating to stress, depression, and anxiety disorders. 


A data breach may cause you significant stress. According to the NHS, symptoms include:

  • Inability to concentrate
  • You may struggle with decision-making
  • Getting overwhelmed
  • Forgetting things
  • Constant worrying


An anxiety disorder puts sufferers at unease and may result in constant worrying or being fearful. You may feel more anxious than usual if a personal data breach occurs, which could result in you developing conditions such as:

If a personal data breach has caused your mental health problems to get worse, get in touch. Our advisors offer free friendly advice and could tell you if you are eligible to receive data breach compensation for mental health injuries.

What Data Falls Under The UK GDPR?

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is an independent public body that upholds data protection law in the UK. Whilst the ICO cannot offer compensation for data breaches, they may investigate complaints and issue monetary fines.

The UK GDPR defines personal data as any information that identifies or can be linked to an identifiable person. This can include:

  • Name
  • Contact details
  • Email 
  • Phone number

Other sensitive information such as passwords and bank account details could potentially be exposed, lost or shared due to a data breach.

Special category data needs extra protection as it is considered to be of a sensitive nature:

  • Racial or ethnic origin 
  • Political information
  • Philosophical or Religious information
  • Biometric or genetic data

When a data breach makes your mental health problems worse, you may consider seeking legal advice. Our advisors can offer free guidance and may be able to put you in touch with one of our expert solicitors.

Do You Have Grounds To Make A Claim?

As we explained earlier, there are certain criteria you must meet in order to make a valid claim. For example, the breach must have been the fault of the organisation, and you must have suffered mental or financial harm.

Generally, there is a six year time limit for starting a data breach claim. However, this time limit is reduced to one year for claims against a public body. Furthermore, if the breach threatens your rights or freedoms, the organisation must report it to the ICO within 72 hours.  

What Could You Claim If A Data Breach Made Your Mental Health Problems Worse?

If your personal data breach claim is successful you could be awarded two types of damages: 

  • Material damage: This accounts for any financial loss inflicted by a data breach. For example, if your credit or debit card details are involved, resulting in fraudulent purchases.
  • Non-material damage: This is in relation to any psychological injuries caused by a breach, for example if you suffer from PTSD or anxiety. Or if these conditions are made worse by the breach. 

Following the Court of Appeal case, Vidal-Hall and others v Google Inc [2015], it was ruled that you may seek non-material damage no matter what financial impact was caused by the data breach.

Using the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG), a legal publication used by solicitors to value injuries caused by an accident at work, medical negligence, and data breaches, we have created a psychological injury compensation table. This can give you a broad idea of what you could receive should your claim succeed.

Injury Compensation Range Comments
Severe Stress Disorder £59,860 – £100,670 You are unable to function the same way you did before experiencing trauma.
Moderately Severe Stress Disorder £23,150 – £59,860 You may have made some degree of recovery.
Moderate Stress Disorder £8,180 – £23,150 Residual effects of PTSD may still be prominent.
Less Severe Stress Disorder £3,950 – £8,180 Minor symptoms may persist but a full recovery is expected by two years.
Severe Psychiatric Damage £54,830 – £115,730 Symptoms impact your relationships, work or education whilst the prognosis is very poor.
Moderately Severe Psychiatric Damage £19,070 – £54,830 Significant disability is anticipated although the prognosis is slightly more optimistic than the bracket above.
Moderate Psychiatric Damage £5,860 – £19,070 Aspects in your life are affected, including in work and education.
Less Severe Psychiatric Damage £1,540 – £5,860 You may struggle to sleep whilst some daily activities may be affected.

Please note that these figures are guidelines only.

Discuss How A Data Breach Made Your Mental Health Problems Worse

If a personal data breach has made your mental health problems worse, why not find out if you can make a compensation claim. Our experienced solicitors, can offer their services under a  Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). With benefits such as:

  • You don’t pay an upfront solicitor’s fee
  • You only pay the success fee owed to the solicitor if your case succeeds
  • That fee is capped by law at 25%
  • If it fails you do not pay your solicitor.

To discuss your case with one of our expert personal data breach solicitors, contact our advisors today by:

Find Out More About Claiming For Mental Health Injuries 

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If a personal data breach has made your mental health problems worse, get in touch today.