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Claiming Compensation Under Data Protection Act

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 30 Oct 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Data Protection Act Compensation

You can claim compensation under the Data Protection Act if an organisation's breach of the Act's provisions meant that you underwent "damage, or damage and distress." This is extreme, but if you have proof that it happened, it's a course worth considering. The burden of proof will lie with you of course, as you're bringing the action and though it should be relatively easy to find evidence of damage, distress can be a lot tougher to prove. It's always best to exhaust the other avenues first if you can.

Restrictions

Before you make a claim however, you have to distinguish between damage and distress - which can be a very tricky point and distress can be a very nebulous thing. Under the law, if all you suffered was distress because of the processing, then you can only make a claim if the data has been used for "special purposes" and only three categories are allowed - artistic, literary or journalistic.

How to Claim Compensation

If the organisation offers you compensation, then everything can be settled easily. If you can't reach an agreement however, you'll need to take them to court (although most organisations would prefer to pay a small amount than face the glare of bad publicity). You can either specify the amount of compensation you want the court to award you (known as "liquidated damages"), or leave the decision up to the judge ("unliquidated damages"). Your claim should also contain an application that demands the organisation remedy the breach in the Act that caused the damage in the first place.

Generally, if your claim is for less than £5000, the court will put the case under the small claims procedure, which means you won't need to use a solicitor; you can handle the case yourself.

The Amount of Compensation

The amount of compensation is up to the judge; the Act offers no guidelines for compensation levels. This means he has to take a number of things into account, including the extent of the breach and its effect on you.

Even in the case of liquidated, or specified damages, where the sum you've stated is simply the same as the amount you've lost because of the organisation's actions, the judge might disallow part of your claim. He can also award you a lesser amount than you asked for, or possibly even nothing at all.

Getting Your Money

In most instances however, if an organisation is found to have done wrong and you've proved damage and distress, you'll receive at least some money in compensation and the organisation will pay relatively promptly.

If they don't however, or they refuse or can't pay, that leaves them in breach of the court. This means that you have to return to court to learn how you can enforce the judgement. This might even involve new proceedings, which can end up being more time-consuming than the amount is worth.

As an extreme measure, consider starting bankruptcy proceedings against the organisation if they refuse to pay. This course of action often achieves very quick results, but shouldn't be taken hastily.

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A social work gave out a report of my family to another family they wrote me a letter addmitting they breached data protection can I claim compansation
Tray - 30-Oct-18 @ 12:19 PM
I was recently included as a possible defendant in an employment tribunal although the pursuer and myself reached an agreement prior to proceedings..however it has come to light that the other defendant an aleo (of the company I work for) who employee our companies HR services passed the details via our HR to my employer..I now face a possible disciplinary process that may result in my dismissal do I have a case for breach of gdpr and possibly compensation.
Trimble - 29-Oct-18 @ 1:32 AM
Hello I called candy to register my warrenty for an appliance and during this registration I was asked if I was comfertable being contacted by third party companies I told them i was not comfortable and to not give my information out to anyone but then ten minutes after I got off the phone I had a phone call from a marketing company ontop of me asking them not to give my informatio out I asked them themselfs not to contact me via phone only to contact via email as I have anxiety and it can be verry distressing having unexpected phone calls after telling them this I feel violated and unable to trust them or anyone with my phone number do I have a case ?
nadine - 16-Oct-18 @ 6:45 PM
I made a call tosocial servicesTo report a child being hurt , first they gave my name out after I said I wanted to stayAnonymous4 x times on the call . Then after this they gave out my full name and address three weeks after !!! They have offered me £250 compo but I have been under so much stress and fear for my safety now .
Lex - 6-Oct-18 @ 3:27 PM
Hi, I have found a secret camera hidden in my place of work. I feel alarmed and none of the staff have been informed of the camera or it’s reasons. This is very distressing and against GDPR rules. Do I have a case ? Rgds
Golfersbreach - 24-Sep-18 @ 10:47 PM
My comany was bought out via another company which I'm still working for. They have ask for all my personal information which my old company had. When questioned where all my information has gone I was told it has been lost and I must submit it all again. DBS. Insurance information ect. I'm very upset and worriedto where this information had gone and what if it's fell in to the wrong hands. Where do I stand ?
Meemee - 18-Sep-18 @ 6:24 PM
Elle - Your Question:
A solicitor acting on my behalf with the CICA sent a highly sensitive medical report with historic and current information to neighbours property even though they had previously been told they had sent post to the wrong address. They want to offer me compensation but would like to know what is an acceptable amount?

Our Response:
Sorry we can't give individual advice on things like this.
ConsumerRightsExpert - 18-Sep-18 @ 3:31 PM
A solicitor acting on my behalf with the CICA sent a highly sensitive medical report with historic and current information to neighbours property even though they had previously been told they had sent post to the wrong address. They want to offer me compensation but would like to know what is an acceptable amount?
Elle - 17-Sep-18 @ 1:02 PM
Cheadleman - Your Question:
I have recently been sacked for carrying out additional work from my home, the employee stated it was a breach of my contract.My issue is, the employer accessed my personal diary and copied pages with my appointments on and copied a person cheque from one of my clients. The employer used this information to validate the allegations. Is this a breach of date protection and can I make a claimThanks

Our Response:
If your personal diary was on your employer's property (ie a work laptop/computer - or on your desk etc) then it's probably reasoable for them to use this as evidence that you breached your contract.
ConsumerRightsExpert - 24-Aug-18 @ 11:45 AM
I have recently been sacked for carrying out additional work from my home, the employee stated it was a breach of my contract. My issue is, the employer accessed my personal diary and copied pages with my appointments on and copied a person cheque from one of my clients. The employer used this information to validate the allegations. Is this a breach of date protection and can I make a claim Thanks
Cheadleman - 21-Aug-18 @ 4:53 PM
A large insurance company is dealing with our landladys claim as our house flooded. We recently discovered that our landlady had a call from a police station and a folder had been handed in. In the folder was all the details of the claim including our address, where we work, the times we go to work and come home, pictures of our home with out contents in it, pictures of my car with my registration number, our mobile phone number, the fact we have foster children and their ages. Given the new GDPR legislation I am aware that this is a big problem for the company and that they could be fined. They are investigating the matter and have intimated that there will be compensation - my question is how much is a reasonable amount of compensation given the fact that they have basically given someone everything they would need to rob me? Thanks
Meace - 19-Aug-18 @ 11:07 PM
Woz - Your Question:
I recently had an ex girlfriend bothering me phoning me up calling round my parents a lot until finally I was forced to talk to her. I asked her how she found me and got my phone number, she told me she knows a member of staff at Oldham cash converters who knows me he told her to call into the shop where he logged into my account and gave her my details. Ive complained to the head office where I was told there would be an investigation I later phoned and was told he was having a dissaplinary then all I was told is that he is now leaving the company. How do I pursue compensation and how much do I pursue.

Our Response:
You should speak to a solicitor about how much compensation would be realistic. You would need to assess things like distress, time, inconvenience etc.
ConsumerRightsExpert - 10-Aug-18 @ 12:28 PM
I recently had an ex girlfriend bothering me phoning me up calling round my parents a lot until finally I was forced to talk to her.I asked her how she found me and got my phone number, she told me she knows a member of staff at Oldham cash converters whoknows me he told her to call into the shop where he logged into my account and gave her my details. Ive complained to the head office where I was told there would be an investigation I later phoned and was told he was having a dissaplinary then all I was told is that he is now leaving the company.How do I pursue compensation and how much do I pursue.
Woz - 9-Aug-18 @ 3:04 AM
Hi I'm wondering if you could possessive me some advise the NHS have actually changed my date of birth and it's wrong I'm always having trouble with going tothe doctors and hospitals as of the wrong date of birth and in some hospitalsort i have visited they have actually got my surname spelt wrong if you could please give me an answer on what to do that would be great
Trav4367 - 26-Jul-18 @ 6:43 PM
NHS lost my surgical procedure DVD and another professional within the hospital found it and gave to me by mistake. I later found that I did not consent for the procedure to be filmed. The hospital later apologised and acknowledged their negligence. I suffered psychological problems after watching that procedure as it was for my ectopic pregnancy. Can I make a claim?
Jellyfish - 15-Jul-18 @ 2:04 PM
Hi-I contacted social services to find out if there was any information they could provide on a case they were working on with my brother. I asked them to keep the conversation confidential to which they agreed. The social worker then told my brother that I had called them and told me that they were not aware of my request to keep the call confidential. I contacted the specific social worker again to complain and she apologised, then a week later used information we discussed in the second phone call as evidence in a family court, without my permission. I have raised a conplaint that was originally being dealt with informally, which I have declined and a formal investigation is underway. What options do I have with regards to compensationand how much should I pursue if the authority accept they have been negligent and breached my confidentiality? Thanks.
Disappointed - 9-May-18 @ 10:43 PM
My husband is undergoing a series of tests at our local hospital and we have been sent personal details of different patients on TWO separate occasions. He is now very stressed as he is convinced that his data is not secure. We reported this to the PALs team who initially asked him to destroy all of the correspondence (an appointment letter & a procedure preparation prescription) which we have not done as we do not want to destroy any evidence. Should we contact the other parties involved and any recommendations?
Kat.b - 9-May-18 @ 12:49 PM
Hi, I have just discovered that my local council has sent my annual council tax bill to my ex husbands address, disclosing my current address and my partners full name- I have been divorced for 7 years, after a very difficult divorce. He had no idea to my whereabouts, until now. The distress and anxiety this is now causing me is unbearable. Looking into the matter,I have discovered the local council in question has considerable history of data protection breaches. I have contacted a number of local solicitors in my area, who say they are unable to help with this matter. Do I have a case? If only to prevent someone going through this ordeal again and do I need a solicitor that specialises in data protection breach?
Sooz - 22-Mar-18 @ 8:32 PM
Never give up - Your Question:
My children and I were moved to a safe house 100miles away from my abusive partner of 7years. He then fought through the family courts to try and gain access/contact with my children. The court ordered social services to carry out all sorts of reports on me, my children and their abuse father which is understandable. But then they contacted me accusing me or my family of passing our secret address on to our Abuser. After being accused of this for months and accusing me of emotional harm for allegedly doing this it came to light that intact social services themselves had past on th information. They had sent a copy of a report from the health visitor which clearly stated our info and whereabouts at the top of the report. Not only did it cause great distress the thought of him knowing our address they did absolutely nothing to move us as they were convinced it was me who had. I reported all their mid conduct to the complaint department only to be told that in fact they could not do anything or look into anything at the time as it may have affected the outcome of the court process.Ofcourse it would have, the court would find out what a bunch of incompetent idiots they were by sending our safe house address to our convicted abuser. Now courts over I’m wondering what can I do and what damages I can claim after suffering ptsd and continued abuse from the professionals that were supposed to help us?

Our Response:
It might be worth seeking advice from a legal professional if you're looking a financial claim for damages etc. If you simply want the social services department who worked on the case to be held accountable, you can contact the ombudsman
ConsumerRightsExpert - 21-Mar-18 @ 2:55 PM
My children and I were moved to a safe house 100miles away from my abusive partner of 7years. He then fought through the family courts to try and gain access/contact with my children. The court ordered social services to carry out all sorts of reports on me, my children and their abuse father which is understandable. But then they contacted me accusing me or my family of passing our secret address on to our Abuser. After being accused of this for months and accusing me of emotional harm for allegedly doing this it came to light that intact social services themselves had past on th information. They had sent a copy of a report from the health visitor which clearly stated our info and whereabouts at the top of the report. Not only did it cause great distress the thought of him knowing our address they did absolutely nothing to move us as they were convinced it was me who had. I reported all their mid conduct to the complaint department only to be told that in fact they could not do anything or look into anything at the time as it may have affected the outcome of the court process......Ofcourse it would have, the court would find out what a bunch of incompetent idiots they were by sending our safe house address to our convicted abuser. Now courts over I’m wondering what can I do and what damages I can claim after suffering ptsd and continued abuse from the professionals that were supposed to help us?
Never give up - 20-Mar-18 @ 2:38 AM
Hi. With regard to compensation, if the claim for compensation relates to stress and/or anxiety, the same threshold for personal injury claims applies so if the injury is valued at less than £1,000 then it will be tracked into the Small Claims track otherwise it will be Fast or Multi Track, which is just a slightly different way the case is progressed. The government and the ABI (Assoc of British Insurers) would have you believe that a layperson can pursue a claim for compensation without the need for a solicitor, and I would have to agree that some claimants could do the claim themselves, however the majority of people would need some guidance and that it would be best practice to instruct a legal expert in this area. It is also very likely that your opponent will instruct a solicitor so to have equality of arms, it is advisable to use one yourself. If you have concerns about funding, some solicitors will pursue your claim for you on a Conditional Fee basis (often referred to as a 'No Win No Fee' Agreement) which essentially means that they will defer payment until the case has been settled in your favour and will often pursue the legal charges from the Data Controller (or in this scenario, the losing party).
KhanMather - 19-Feb-18 @ 3:44 PM
I recently contacted my mental health out of hours service in a suicidal state. When they returned my call I recognised the voice as my partners step mother so I panicked and hung up as I didn't want to talk to her about what was bothering me. Nearly an hour later someone else called me and I spoke to her believing that what was said in that conversation was private and confidential between me and her. The NHS have investigated "Elaine"(partners step mother) and I have since found out that the lady I spoke to worked on a mental health ward as a senior nurse in the same hospital as Elaine. 3 hours later Elaine re-accessed my psychiatric file and read the notes taken from the phone call in which I spoke to the senior nurse (which I believed was between me and her). The gentleman investigating has since told me Elaine spent over an hour reading my file. Her reason for this was that she would have do a hand over of my care the next morning, which has left me very confused as to why the senior nurse didn't hand my care over the following day having been the person that I spoke to therefore the person responsible for handing over my care. Elaine knew exactly who I was and when she made the initial phone call she withheld her name in an attempt to have me speak to her. This lady has always had an issue with me for what ever reason and knowing she is walking around with my most private thoughts has left me feeling very violated and vulnerable. I'm having nightmares and sleep paralysis as a result of the stress and distress.Myself and my partner have split up twice as a result and our relationship has suffered greatly. It has taken the NHS 9 months to investigate but I still feel that I haven't had all the answers I need and want, this is such a long time for something like this to hang over me as an individual and as myself and my partners relationship. Is this worth putting in a claim for? If so any ideas what it might be worth?
sweetpea691 - 20-Dec-17 @ 8:49 PM
I recently contacted my mental health out of hours service in a suicidal state. When they returned my call I recognised the voice as my partners step mother so I panicked and hung up as I didn't want to talk to her about what was bothering me. Nearly an hour later someone else called me and I spoke to her believing that what was said in that conversation was private and confidential between me and her. The NHS have investigated "Elaine"(partners step mother) and I have since found out that the lady I spoke to worked on a mental health ward as a senior nurse in the same hospital as Elaine. 3 hours later Elaine re-accessed my psychiatric file and read the notes taken from the phone call in which I spoke to the senior nurse (which I believed was between me and her). The gentleman investigating has since told me Elaine spent over an hour reading my file. Her reason for this was that she would have do a hand over of my care the next morning, which has left me very confused as to why the senior nurse didn't hand my care over the following day having been the person that I spoke to therefore the person responsible for handing over my care. Elaine knew exactly who I was and when she made the initial phone call she withheld her name in an attempt to have me speak to her. This lady has always had an issue with me for what ever reason and knowing she is walking around with my most private thoughts has left me feeling very violated and vulnerable. I'm having nightmares and sleep paralysis as a result of the stress and distress.Myself and my partner have split up twice as a result and our relationship has suffered greatly. It has taken the NHS 9 months to investigate but I still feel that I haven't had all the answers I need and want, this is such a long time for something like this to hang over me as an individual and as myself and my partners relationship. Is this worth putting in a claim for? If so any ideas what it might be worth?
sweetpea691 - 20-Dec-17 @ 11:28 AM
Last year I purchased a cat from a local garage of which I had to pay cash as my credit had been damaged terribly (another nightmare). CAR broke down several times running into thousands of pounds to fix. Garage refused to fix brakes ect. I left a complaint online warning people of the dangers. This year the garage owner phoned me and threatened that if I did not remove it I could look out. Much to my horror he had replied to my comment online adding my full address and phone number. Having been moved for my own safety. My question is can he do this? Police said it's not an actual crime but may be breaking a data protection law. Please could you advise.
Lollypop3 - 8-Dec-17 @ 7:24 AM
Hi. The child services bury, went to see my daughters father and showed him all the reports for the conference. My daughters father has no parental rights and his name isnt even on the birth certificate. The social worker even invited him to conference. She breached my data protection
Vonnie - 3-Dec-17 @ 6:05 AM
DaveE - Your Question:
In writing to me to advise I have underpaid tax for the past 3 years due to HICBC, HMRC have sent details of my salary for 3 tax years to an accountant I last used 15 years ago when I owned a company. In fact they have done it twice - I wrote back to them to dispute some amounts and asked them not to include the Accountancy firm in any response. They sent me the recalculations and, of course, included the accountant again. I have raised a complaint on their website but it's been 2 weeks now and no response. Any advice on what I should do next please?

Our Response:
You need to complete the two tier complaints process. If you still don't hear anything try the Adjudicator's office
ConsumerRightsExpert - 3-Nov-17 @ 11:25 AM
In writing to me to advise I have underpaid tax for the past 3 years due to HICBC, HMRC have sent details of my salary for 3 tax years to an accountant I last used 15 years ago when I owned a company. In fact they have done it twice - I wrote back to them to dispute some amounts and asked them not to include the Accountancy firm in any response. They sent me the recalculations and, of course, included the accountant again. I have raised a complaint on their website but it's been 2 weeks now and no response. Any advice on what I should do next please?
DaveE - 2-Nov-17 @ 3:54 PM
Bigbear17- Your Question:
My local authority has sent information to my children's biological father who has not seen them for 9 years or been involved. They sent him information about my other children who are not his myself and my mental health and about my current partner without my permission. Can I peruse this ?

Our Response:
We don't really have enough information about your case to help with this we're sorry.
ConsumerRightsExpert - 31-Oct-17 @ 3:39 PM
My local authority has sent information to my children's biological father who has not seen them for 9 years or been involved.They sent him information about my other children who are not his myself and my mental health and about my current partner without my permission.Can i peruse this ?
Bigbear17 - 29-Oct-17 @ 8:02 PM
Mary Miles - Your Question:
I work for the NHS, I was involved in a sexual assault and the matter was investigated by my employers. During the investigation my Full name and address was sent to the person in question, also the investigating officer had left documentation involving the investigation include my full name and address in an air lock which all personal to the building had access to. I had to move address and had to change the area of which I work with in the NHS Trust and all my employers done was write a letter of apology and make the investigator retake there information governance training. Would I have a case?

Our Response:
You would have to seek professional legal help for advice on a specific case like this.
ConsumerRightsExpert - 13-Oct-17 @ 11:58 AM
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