Almost all organisations hold a certain level of personal information about members of the public. With this personal information comes an understanding of privacy and acknowledgement that this information will remain secure in their hands. Human or system errors can lead to personal information being leaked. While often done by accident, sending private information to the wrong person can have devastating effects.
Over the years, Farleys Solicitors have worked on behalf of a number of clients who have successfully claimed compensation when private information has been wrongfully disclosed. Our expert solicitors can advise you throughout the process as well as represent you in court should your claim reach that point.
Who Can I Claim Against?
There are a number of different organisations and individuals you can claim against for accidental disclosure of personal information. The most common are claims against public authorities such as the local council, police or social services.
What Kind of Claim Can I Make?
Depending on the details of your claim, it may fall under any one of the following;
- Data Protection Act
- Human Rights Act
- Misuse of Private Information
Claims are most commonly made when the claimant has suffered loss as a result of the information being disclosed. This loss can come in the form of identity theft, financial fraud, the harming of employment prospects or affecting personal security. More recent developments in the law have seen successful claims being made as a result of the claimant suffering emotional distress. A landmark case, Vidal-Hall v Google, awarded damages to the claimant for distress and anxiety caused by breaches in data protection. They did not claim for pecuniary loss or other material damage.
Examples of Claims Following Accidental Disclosure of Personal Information
- In August 2016, a woman was awarded £75,000 in damages as a result of a claim against Greater Manchester Police for revealing details of her treatment by a former boyfriend without her consent during a training exercise.
- Local council were taken to court following the details of possible abuse of a 12 year old girl being sent to the wrong address on two separate occasions.
- The identities of a child’s adoptive parents were given to the birth parents which resulted in stalking and harassment of the adoptive parents by the birth parents. Cases like these are unfortunately not isolated and we have seen numerous cases of wrongful disclosure of this kind.