Data Breaches Due To Human Error – Could I Make A Compensation Claim?

Data Breaches Due To Human Error - Could I Make A Compensation Claim?

Data Breaches Due To Human Error – Could I Make A Compensation Claim?

Data breaches due to human error are generally the most common causes of breaches. A personal data breach can happen through human error, such as non-cyber or because of a cyber security incident. Human error data breaches are often accidental, whereas cyber attacks are usually intentional. However, unintentional mistakes can still cause harm. Whether the data breach was caused due to human error or by cybercriminals, you may be able to claim if your case meets the criteria set out in data protection regulations.

Personal data breaches have the ability to cause not only mental health injuries, such as depression or anxiety, but also financial losses. In this guide, we examine the data breach claims process and what damages could be awarded in successful claims.

To make a human error data breach claim, please get in touch with us today to speak to an advisor. If you are eligible to claim, one of our experienced data breach solicitors may offer to manage your claim under a No Win No Fee Agreement.

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Data Breaches Due To Human Error Claims Advice

A personal data breach is a security incident which, in effect, compromises the integrity, security and confidentiality of your personal data. Under the UK General Data Protection Regulation and the Data Protection Act 2018, a data subject’s personal data is protected. A data subject is generally you if your personal data is being processed. These data protection laws place great emphasis on data controllers, companies that process your personal data, to ensure that this type of information is kept secure.

How Can Organisations Avoid Data Breaches?

To comply with data protection laws, organisations must do all they can to prevent data breaches:

  • Staff should be trained on data security, confidentiality, and integrity.
  • Employers should ensure that they have completely implemented data security policies
  • And for personal data stored digitally, data controllers must have strong cyber defence systems in place.

If data controllers fail in their obligation to do all they can to prevent a data breach, should one occur that involves your personal data, they could become liable for any harm this causes you.

How Do Human Error Data Breaches Happen?

Unintentional mistakes can cause data breaches due to human error. Often a lack of training or poor administrative processes can cause these errors. Let’s look at these accidental data breach examples to see how they can happen:

  • An HR employee could send an email containing personal data to the wrong address.
  • Or the HR employee could send out a mass email and fail to use the BCC field, so the email addresses are shared amongst recipients.
  • An employee accidentally leaves their laptop screen unlocked so unauthorised colleagues can see personal information on their device.
  • Or an employee accidentally discloses personal data to an unauthorised person.

Human Error Data Breach Case Study

The Information Commissioner’s Office is an independent public body responsible for upholding our data protection laws. The ICO has the power to investigate organisations that fail to adhere to data protection law and take enforcement action.

The Cabinet Office published a file on the government’s website containing the names and unredacted addresses of over 1,000 people included in the New Year Honour List. However, there was a failure to redact the data subjects’ postal addresses.

The breach was investigated by the Information Commissioner’s Office and found that a failure to apply technical and organisational measures to prevent the unauthorised disclosure of personal data led to the breach. Consequently, the ICO fined the Cabinet Office £500,000.

Can You Claim For Data Breaches Due To Human Error

Even though human error data breaches can be accidental, those affected may still be able to make a personal data breach claim. However, not all data breach victims will qualify for data breach compensation. To claim, you will need to prove that the organisation breached your data because it failed to comply with data protection regulations.

Also, you must be able to prove that your personal data was included in the breach and that you suffered damages as a result. For example, you may have experienced a psychological injury or emotional distress because of the breach. On the other hand, you may have experienced financial losses because of the breach.

What Is The Average Human Error Data Breach Claim Amount?

If your human error data breach compensation claim succeeds, you may receive up to two types of damages. These are:

  • Material damage compensation for the money or assets you lost.
  • Non-material damage compensation for the emotional distress or mental health injuries you experienced.

This table can be used instead of a compensation calculator as a guide to help you calculate what amount of compensation certain mental health conditions are awarded. When creating the table, we referred to the 16th edition compensation guidelines from the Judicial College (2022 update). The Judicial College Guidelines are often used in personal injury claims to help value injuries suffered.

What Injury Was Caused? How Severe Was This? Bracket Amounts Learn More About The Injury
Psychological Harm (Generally) Severe £54,830 to £115,730 The person has problems with many areas of their life, such as education, relationships and in employment.
Psychological Harm (Generally) Moderately Severe £19,070 to £54,830 Professional treatment could lead to this person recovering to some degree though the injury could still be disabling.
Psychological Harm (Generally) Moderate £5,860 to £19,070 A good recovery will have already been achieved.
Psychological Harm (Generally) Less Severe £1,540 to £5,860 The award will reflect how much daily life and sleep have been impacted.
Anxiety Disorder Following A Trauma Severe £59,860 to £100,670 There are permanent disabilities that will affect all areas of the person’s life.
Anxiety Disorder Following A Trauma Moderately Severe £23,150 to £59,860 A significant disability that could last for a while.
Anxiety Disorder Following A Trauma Moderate £8,180 to £23,150 Ongoing impacts are not considered to be grossly disabling.
Anxiety Disorder Following A Trauma Less Severe £3,950 to £8,180 It is anticipated that the person should recover fully in 24 months.

The table should only ever be used for guidance as each and every claim is different.

Starting A Human Error Data Breach Claim

Data breach claims can be complex, so it is a good idea to seek out some legal advice. Our advisors can provide free legal advice, and there is no obligation to use our services. However, should they see that you have good grounds to make a data breach claim, they may offer to connect you with one of our No Win No Fee solicitors.

When you work with a No Win No Fee solicitor, you will usually sign a Conditional Fee Agreement, which will state on what conditions your solicitor will receive their success fee.

  • No upfront fee needed
  • A success fee to be paid to the solicitor if the case is won
  • The success fee is capped and is a percentage of the compensation
  • No successful claim, no success fee.

Please get in touch with Accident Claims UK to speak to us. If you are eligible to claim compensation, our solicitors will start working on your claim as soon as possible.

  • Call us for free legal advice on 0800 073 8801
  • Contact us in writing, using our claims form
  • Alternatively, you can now ask us a question about making a claim using the Live Support widget in the corner of your screen.

Where To Learn More

You may find these guides helpful if you want to know more about making a human error data breach claim.

What Are My Rights After An NHS Data Breach?

What Are My Rights After A Social Services Data Breach?

How Can You Claim For A Hotel Data Breach?

An ICO guide to personal data breach examples

ICO advice on complaining about poor data protection to an organisation

Information from the ICO on whether a data subject’s consent is needed.

We appreciate that you read our guide on data breaches due to human error.