Guides & articles How much is the average claim for a breach of the data protection act?

Peter Hammond I am a solicitor who has specialised in data breach compensation claims.
How much is the average claim for a breach of the data protection act?

If you are the victim of a personal data breach in the UK you should be entitled to claim for financial damages, not only for any financial losses you incur but also for the emotional distress you experience. The exact amount of data breach compensation you are entitled to will depend on a range of factors. Below is an estimation of claim amounts based on previous data breach claim awards.

  •       From £750 to £2,000- for a low-risk data breach where the information accessed was not sensitive and no financial harm was suffered, the compensation is for distress.
  •       From £3,000 to £8,000- where sensitive information was compromised (medical or financial data breach) but the breach has not caused severe losses or has not been intentional.

The courts have not yet decided on exact compensation brackets. In some cases where sensitive information was leaked, a celebrity was involved, or the data breach had a significant effect on the person, the courts upon careful assessment of the data breach damages can award greater pay-outs which can reach £30,000-£50,000. 

What personal information is protected under the DPA?

Personal data has a broad definition under the DPA to effectively deal with different types of data that can directly or indirectly reference or identify an individual and such information should be protected from unauthorised disclosures, leaks, or breaches.

What about sensitive personal information?

According to the DPA sensitive personal information includes data relating to:

  •       Biometrics, e.g., fingerprints, voice recognition, face recognition, eye scan etc
  •       Physical or mental health
  •       Ethnicity and race
  •       Religious beliefs
  •       Political preferences and opinions
  •       Trade union membership
  •       Genetic information
  •       Sexual orientation and activities
  •       Criminal offences or history

How much can you claim for a sensitive information data breach?

In situations where banks have been hacked, bank details were leaked, or credit card information was compromised, the bank will usually notify customers and freeze the account or card then issue a new one alongside credit score monitoring. That does not necessarily mean you will experience any financial loss, discrimination or distress in the future which happens to roughly 30% of data breach victims according to recent surveys.

Medical and health data breaches are also considered to be serious data breaches of sensitive information that equally have a significant and lasting impact on personal or professional life, to a similar extent of a financial breach. If your sensitive data was breached you could be entitled to:

  •       Medical data breach– £3,000-£5,000
  •       Bank or financial breach- £3,000-£7,000
  •       Any of the above with evidence proven severe impact- £8,000- £30,000

Don’t ignore even small data breaches

If you are in doubt about whether your information has been breached you should always double check and not ignore the situation. Ignoring even a small personal data breach could not only mean you will miss out on the money you are entitled to, but it can also lead to serious effects to your life further in the future. Recent surveys have shown that one in three people who had their personal data leaked had later experienced one of the following.

  •       Identity theft or other fraudulent activity
  •       Financial loss or bad credit
  •       Discrimination on different grounds
  •       Damage to their reputation
  •       Inconvenience, economic or social distress
  •       Loss of confidentiality and trust in businesses in the future with their data

 

Any breach of your personal data is important as organisations should have sufficient security systems and processes in place to ensure all information is protected and it is their failure when data is breached. Contact us today and we will put you in touch with expert data breach solicitors who can help you get started on your claim today.

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