HIV Data Breach – Could I Make A Compensation Claim?

In this guide, we will look at the eligibility criteria that must be met to make an HIV data breach compensation claim. If you have suffered harm due to your personal data being compromised, there are steps you could take.

HIV data breach compensation claims guide

HIV data breach compensation claims guide

HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus, which damages cells in the immune system. Therefore, people with HIV have a weakened ability to fight off everyday diseases and infections. A person can get AIDS when the HIV virus has significantly weakened their immune system.

A healthcare provider will store various types of your personal information, including data relating to your medical condition. It is required of the healthcare provider, as a data controller, to protect your personal data. Data controllers decide on the purpose for processing your personal information.

Existing alongside one another, the UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA) are the two pieces of legislation responsible for governing the way in which personal data is used and stored. This is legislation that a data controller and data processor must adhere to. A data processor acts on behalf of the controller. Furthermore, the UK GDPR outlines the right for victims harmed by a data breach to claim compensation.

Please get in touch with our team today to see if you could be eligible to claim compensation. If, after discussing your case, we find that you may be eligible to receive compensation, we could put you in contact with one of our solicitors.

To make an enquiry:

  • Call us on 0800 073 8801
  • Fill out our online form to contact us
  • Use our live support feature to speak to a claims advisor

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What Is An HIV Data Breach?

An HIV data breach could cause personal data to be compromised. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), which is a UK body tasked with upholding information rights, broadly describes a personal data breach as a security incident affecting the availability, confidentiality or integrity of personal data.

Under the UK GDPR, data controllers and processors must protect personal data. Data controllers have the power over the use and method of processing personal data, whereas processors process the data on the instruction of the relevant controller.

Data controllers must put measures in place to ensure the safety of personal data. This could include implementing security precautions, such as an up-to-date cyber security system. If a data controller or processor fails to comply with data protection laws, it could cause a breach of personal data resulting in the person suffering financial loss or psychological harm. Although it is important to mention that in some instances, a data controller could adhere to data protection laws, however, a data breach could still occur due to measures outside of their control.

Continue reading to learn more about making a claim following a medical data breach involving your personal information. Alternatively, contact our advisors to find out the steps you could take should this type of breach occur.

How Many People Have Been Affected By Medical Data Breaches?

The UK GDPR defines health data in Article 9 as special category data requiring further protection. Therefore information concerning your HIV status requires additional justifications for processing. The UK GDPR explains that organisations must have both a lawful basis and a separate condition to process special category data which are outlined in Article 9 of the UK GDPR.

Organisations must report data breaches to the ICO if the breach affects the rights and freedoms of those involved. As such, the ICO collate these reports to track data security incident trends which explain that in Q2 2021, the health sector saw 600 incidents reported.

Below are further statistics regarding reported security incidents in the health sector:

  • From Q2 2019 to Q2 2022, there were 6,035.
  • Of these, there were 5,577 non-cyber incidents and 458 cyber incidents.

It is important to note that not all of these cases will have been caused by a violation of data protection law.

The 56 Dean Street Clinic Breach

A serious HIV data breach occurred in September 2015. An HIV support group, 56 Dean Street, exposed personal data of 780 patients. The data breach occurred due to the group sending out a mass email revealing the names and email addresses of patients when a newsletter was issued.


The Consequences Of An HIV Data Breach

If your personal HIV data is exposed in a data protection breach, you could experience an impact on several areas of your life. For example, you could sustain mental health injuries, such as emotional distress, anxiety, depression and, in severe cases, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Furthermore, someone could use your personal data for criminal purposes, such as identity theft, which could lead to you experiencing financial losses. Additionally, you could experience a loss of earnings due to requiring time off work as a result of the emotional impact of the HIV data breach.

If you are suffering harm after a personal data breach caused by a failure to comply with the UK GDPR, speak to one of our advisors for free legal advice.

How To Claim For An HIV Data Breach

If you have been contacted about a data breach concerning your health data or you believe a breach has occurred, you could make a data protection complaint. The ICO recommends you follow this procedure:

  • Firstly, contact the organisation to explain what you believe has happened.
  • If you are unsatisfied with the response, you could ask the organisation for clarification.
  • If you do not receive a satisfactory response from the organisation, you could then complain to the ICO. They may investigate the breach, which could produce useful evidence for a claim. However, it is important to know that the ICO does not award compensation themselves and making a complaint to them is not required to make a claim.

Additionally, we recommend that you seek legal advice. Our team of advisors can provide free legal advice and guidance on whether you’re eligible to make an HIV data breach claim. For more information, call on the number above.

What Could You Claim If Your HIV Data Is Breached?

A successful HIV data breach claim could include up to two potential types of compensation. These are:

  • Material damage – Compensating for the financial losses caused by the personal data breach.
  • Non-material damage – Compensating you for the psychological injuries caused by the breach of your personal data. For example, you may have needed to take time off work to recover from the mental impact of the breach causing you to lose earnings. You could claim back the loss of earnings under this head of claim. However, you must provide evidence to prove material damage, such as bank records.

You can make a claim for either material damage or non-material damage without claiming for the other, or you can claim for both simultaneously.

The compensation table below provides a guide to non-material damage. We referred to the Judicial College guidelines (JCG), which was updated in April 2022. Data breach solicitors can refer to this document to help them when they value the non-material damage head of claim. However, please remember that every claim is different, therefore, these figures are a guide.

Injury Details of the Injury Compensation
Mental Injury – Severe (a) The injury leaves the person with marked problems coping with several aspects of their life. The prognosis is very poor. £54,830 to £115,730
Mental Injury – Moderately Severe (b) The injury leaves the person with similar problems to those in the above bracket, but the prognosis is much more optimistic. £19,070 to £54,830
Mental Injury – Moderate (c) The injury did cause the person to face problems in their relationships and ability to cope with life. However, marked improvements will have been and their prognosis will be good. £5,860 to £19,070
Mental Injury – Less Severe (d) The injury caused a period of disability which could have impacted the person’s sleep and daily activities. £1,540 to £5,860
Psychiatric Disorder (Reactive) – Severe (a) The person will suffer effects, which are permanent and cause an inability to function at pre-trauma levels. The trauma will have impacted all parts of the person’s life. £59,860 to £100,670
Psychiatric Disorder (Reactive) – Moderately Severe (b) The injury will cause significant disability. The person will have a better prognosis with professional help. £23,150 to £59,860
Psychiatric Disorder (Reactive) – Moderate (c) A large recovery has been made though there could be some remaining symptoms which do not grossly disable the person. £8,180 to £23,150
Psychiatric Disorder (Reactive) – Less Severe (d) Almost a full recovery will have occurred within 1 to 2 years. Some minor symptoms could persist. £3,950 to £8,180

Please call us today to discuss how compensation for a data breach is calculated.

Why Choose A No Win No Fee Claim Solicitor?

Using a No Win No Fee offering their services under a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) could benefit you when making an HIV data breach claim. When claiming under a Conditional Fee Agreement, you are not required to make any upfront payments for your solicitor’s services, nor do you pay for this during the claim or if the claim is unsuccessful.

On the other hand, if your claim is a success, your solicitor will take a small success fee from your compensation. The law caps the percentage.

To see if you are eligible to make a health information data breach, you can:

  • Call us on 0800 073 8801
  • Fill out our online form to contact us
  • Use our live support feature to speak to a claims advisor

Medical Data Breach Claims Resources

Take a look at more of our guides concerning personal data breaches:

We have also provided further external resources for more information:

Please don’t hesitate to contact us to learn more about claiming compensation for an HIV data breach.

Guide by JO

Edited by MMI