If your personal information was compromised due to lost files after a breach of data protection, you may be wondering if you can claim. This guide will explore a data controller and data processors responsibilities as per data protection law and what could happen if they fail to uphold them. A controller is responsible for outlining the purpose for which they will process your personal data and can process it themselves. They might also hire a data processor to act on their behalf.
Additionally, we will explore when you might be eligible to make a data breach claim and the compensation you could receive if your claim succeeds.
The UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018 are the two pieces of legislation that govern the responsibilities a controller and processor has to protect your personal data. They cover both digital and physical data. Therefore, it doesn’t change your claim whether the lost files were physical paperwork or online documents. Moreover, this legislation provides people the right to seek compensation for damages caused by a data breach.
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is responsible for upholding data rights in the UK. They describe a data breach as a breach of data protection that leads to unlawful, unauthorised or unintentional alteration, disclosure, loss, destruction of or access to personal data. This can include files that have been lost.
Furthermore, an organisation’s failure to protect personal data can lead to you, the data subject, experiencing a significant impact on several areas of your life. For example, you could be left dealing with financial losses or psychological harm. If you have a valid claim, you could receive compensation for the impact of a data breach.
Read on to learn more. Alternatively, contact our helpful team of advisors for more information. To get in touch, you can:
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- What Is A Claim For A Lost Files Breach Of Data Protection?
- Limitation Periods For Data Breach Claims
- What Impacts Of A Data Breach Could You Claim For?
- How To Start A Lost Files Breach Of Data Protection Claim
- Lost Files Breach Of Data Protection Compensation Calculator
- Get In Touch To Start A No Win No Fee Claim
There are certain criteria a data breach claim must meet in order to be valid. For example, you must be able to prove that an organisation’s failings caused a breach of your personal data. This breach must have caused you to sustain a psychological injury or financial damage due to the breach.
For example, a data processor could mistakenly leave a file containing personal data in a public place, where it gets lost. This could result in anyone, including those without authorisation, viewing, duplicating or destroying your personal data.
If you have suffered after an organisation failed to protect your personal data, you could have grounds for a claim. Contact us to find out what you can do if your personal information was compromised due to lost files after a breach of data protection.
One of our frequently asked questions is how long do you have to make a data breach compensation claim? Generally, a data breach claim should be made within six years. However, you have one year to claim if it’s against a public body.
There may be exceptions so please don’t hesitate to find out whether you have time to start a claim by contacting our advisors today.
A lost file could contain various information, for example, customer data or employee data. Some examples of personal information that may be kept in a file are:
- Place of work
- Date of birth
- Email address
- Phone number
- Bank account details
Additionally, files could contain more sensitive information, known as special category data. This is information that requires more protection and can include data relating to your health, such as medical information.
If an organisation does not adhere to data protection laws and loses your data, this could have a serious impact on your life. You could suffer financial losses from crimes such as fraud if your bank details are stolen and psychological injuries, such as:
These injuries could have serious negative impacts on a person’s life. They may cause you to be unable to sleep or eat. In extreme cases, you may feel so distressed that you need to move house.
However, you may be able to seek compensation for the ways in which a lost files breach of data protection impacts your quality of life.
The UK GDPR places a duty on organisations to notify the ICO of a data breach within 72 hours of discovery if it puts people’s rights and freedoms at risk. Furthermore, if the breach poses a risk to you, the organisation should contact you without unreasonable delay to inform you of the incident.
Additionally, there are several steps that you can take if you become aware that your personal data has been compromised due to lost files after a breach of data protection. These include:
- You could directly contact the organisation that lost your files. Give details of what you understand to have happened and its effects on you. You can use any communication you have with the organisation as evidence to support your potential claim.
- If the organisation didn’t respond to your satisfaction or didn’t reply at all, you could make a complaint to the ICO. It is important to know that the ICO cannot award compensation. However, if they conduct an investigation into the breach, their findings can act as useful evidence.
- If you cannot resolve the data breach with the organisation, you could seek legal advice about making a claim. You could call our team and find out whether you’re eligible to have one of our solicitors represent your claim on a No Win No Fee basis. They can also provide other services, such as helping you gather relevant evidence to support your case.
Contact our advisors to find out more about making a data breach claim.
You might be wondering what compensation for a data breach you could receive. Following the Court of Appeal for the Vidal-Hall and others v Google Inc  case, you can now file for either material or non-material damages independently of one another.
- Material damages – These are monetary damages incurred as a result of a personal data breach; you could prove these with financial records. For example, if someone accessed your credit card or debit card details, this may have resulted in a negative impact on your financial situation. You could provide bank statements or credit score statements as evidence.
- Non-material damages – These are the psychological injuries you could suffer due to a personal data breach. You could provide medical records as evidence of this.
To value psychological injuries, various legal professionals can use the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG) to help them. This is one of the resources that solicitors use to help value personal injury claims, as the figures are based on previously awarded compensation for different psychological injuries.
We have included the bracket compensation amounts from the JCG in the table below. Although they are based of past cases, you should only use them as a guide.
|Severe Psychiatric Harm
|The person will have severe problems coping with life, education and work. The prognosis is very poor.
|£54,830 – £115,730
|Moderately Severe Psychiatric Harm
|The person will have significant problems coping with life, education and work. The prognosis is more optimistic.
|£19,070 – £54,830
|Moderate Psychiatric Harm
|The person may have had some problems coping with life, education and work but there will have been improvement. The prognosis is good.
|£5,860 – £19,070
|Less Severe Psychiatric Harm
|Consideration will be given to the extent daily life was affected and how long symptoms lasted.
|£1,540 – £5,860
|Severe Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
|There will be a permanent and severe negative effect on all areas of the person’s life.
|£59,860 – £100,670
|Moderately Severe Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
|There will be a possibility for some recovery with professional help.
|£23,150 – £59,860
|Moderate Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
|The person has largely recovered, leaving non-grossly disabling continuing effects.
|£8,180 – £23,150
|Less Severe Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
|The person will make an almost full recovery in 1-2 years and only minor symptoms remain.
|£3,950 – £8,180
When making a data breach claim, you may find it beneficial to hire legal representation. You could do so under a No Win No Fee agreement. There are different types of these agreements, such as a Conditional Fee Agreement.
It means you do not have to pay for your solicitor’s services if your claim fails. Nor are there any upfront or ongoing fees for your solicitor’s services. On the other hand, if your claim is successful, your solicitor will take a small success fee from your compensation. This is a legally capped percentage.
Please get in touch with our team of advisors; they can assess your lost files breach of data protection claim and may be able to refer your case to one of our solicitors. To get in touch, you can:
Please find below some useful links from our site:
Additionally, we have included some external resources:
- ICO- Data Security Incident Trends
- NHS – Mental Health
- National Cyber Security Centre – Data Breach Guidance
Thank you for reading our guide on claiming compensation for a lost files breach of data protection. If you need any other information, please call our team on the number above.
Guide by JO
Edited by MMI