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Can I sue for a Data Protection Breach?

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Learning that your information has been compromised in a data protection breach can be incredibly distressing. When you find yourself in such a situation, you will understandably want to know what your rights are and if it will be possible to take action against those responsible for losing your data.

Depending on your circumstances, it may be possible to sue a company for a data breach. In this article, we provide answers to a number of questions you may have in relation to suing for a data protection breach, helping you to gain a clearer understanding of your position.

Below, we discuss:

While we hope you find this article helpful, we are also happy to answer any questions you might have directly. To speak to a member of our team about your rights to sue for a data breach, you can fill in our secure online claim form or give us a call on 0330 041 5138.

What is a data breach?

A data breach refers to any incident where personal data is accessed, viewed or shared by an unauthorised third party. Data breaches can be caused by criminal activity which exploits security vulnerabilities, an oversight in the data handling processes a company deploys, or a mistake by an organisation, or an individual working for the organisation.

Every organisation which handles personal data is legally obligated to keep it secure, adhering to General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) guidelines. Failing to do so could mean that any affected individuals will be in a position to make a claim for compensation.

How do you know if your data has been breached?

Organisations that experience a data breach are required to inform any affected individuals at the earliest opportunity. This is usually done via an email or letter.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen. There have been many instances of organisations failing to provide proper notification of a data breach in the past and, even when an email or letter is sent out, it can be easily missed.

If you suspect that your data has been breached, but you have had no confirmation from the organisation you believe is responsible, you should get in touch with them directly to express your concerns.

If you are still unsure whether your data has been breached, this is something our expert data breach solicitors can support you with.

Can you sue for a data breach?

If your data has been exposed in a breach, you may be in a position to make a claim for compensation against the responsible organisation. Compensation can be used to help cover any direct financial losses you have suffered, as well as the general distress you have experienced.

When can you sue a company for a breach of data protection?

It is important to note that you won’t automatically be eligible to make a claim for data breach compensation, even if your data has been exposed.

It will need to be demonstrated that an organisation or individual working for an organisation failed to follow data protection laws (either directly or indirectly) and this led to your data being exposed.

Determining the cause of a data breach is not always straightforward, and it may require an investigation from an independent body, such as the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), to confirm that mistakes were made.

Evidence of the impact a data breach has had on you may also be required if you are to make a successful data breach claim. As well as proof of the breach itself and an organisation’s admission of what happened, you may also need to demonstrate any psychological harm you have suffered, and records of financial losses.

Why should you sue for a data protection breach?

If your data falls into the wrong hands, the potential consequences can be extremely serious. With enough information, third parties who have gained access to your personal data may be able to apply for credit in your name, set up fraudulent bank accounts and access any existing accounts you have.

Even if someone is only able to obtain partial pieces of your data, such as your contact details, you may be at risk of a phishing attack which is designed to extract further sensitive information from you.

Of course, no one wants their private information to be shared with anyone it isn’t supposed to. Even if you have not suffered any direct financial losses as a result of your data being breached, this does not mean that the situation will not be incredibly stressful and have a substantial impact on your mental and physical health.

Being unable to sleep, feeling ill, being stressed and unsettled are all common side effects of having your data breached. This can, in turn, have an impact on your friends and your job.

These are all valid reasons for wanting to sue for a data breach.

How can you sue for a data protection breach?

The first step to take if you believe you are in a position to sue a company for a data breach is to speak to our expert solicitors. During an initial discussion about your situation, our team will work with you to establish your circumstances and what caused your data to be breached.

From here, we can confirm whether you would be entitled to sue for data breach compensation and what steps need to be taken to get the claims process underway. Many of the claims we help to pursue are settled out of court via a negotiated settlement.

How Hayes Connor can help

At Hayes Connor, we have one of the largest teams of dedicated data breach claims specialists in the country, with a wealth of combined experience and expertise. Our team can advise you on whether you are likely to have grounds for a claim, the level of compensation you may be entitled to and what you need to do to start a claim.

You can find out more about our expertise and how we handle data breach claims here.

To start a claim, you can use our online claim form and we will get back to you shortly to let you know if we believe you have grounds for compensation.

If you would like to speak to a member of our team, please do not hesitate to give us a call on 0330 041 5138.