Mental health issues following a data breach are an overlooked risk

Hayes Connor SolicitorsBy Legal Futures’ Associate Hayes Connor Solicitors

The reporting on data security violations is increasingly frequent as details of the latest high- profile brand to fall short of its obligations to protect consumers are never far from the headlines.

The mental health impact on victims is grossly under reported however, according to a leading data breach specialist.

Kingsley Hayes, managing director at data breach and cyber security specialist Hayes Connor Solicitors, said: “Data breach news is so common now post GDPR that there is a danger of it becoming white noise. The potential financial losses for victims grab the headlines while the psychological damage experienced by consumers whose private information has been compromised is rarely considered.

“As more of our information becomes digitised, it can be daunting for an individual after discovering that the confidentiality of their personal data has been violated by a trusted source. For some, the consequences are immediate while others may not see the direct financial or personal impact for some time.

“We have a client who has been demoted at work following an incident which compromised their confidential medical records. Another has been prescribed medication by their doctor in order to cope with the aftermath of their private information wrongfully being sent to an ex-partner leading to the loss of access to their children.

“These are just two examples of many where a data breach has led to a series of events impacting relationships, the ability to continue working in the same capacity and the mental wellbeing of the affected individual being negatively impacted.

“The common perception is that a data breach equals financial data being stolen and criminals stealing significant monies from victims however, there is little recognition amongst the organisations that we act against of the resulting mental health issues.

“As a growing number of businesses invest more resources to protect the personal data held, a greater understanding is required of the full impact on their customers should they fail in their duty”.

Hayes Connor Solicitors represents hundreds of claimants seeking compensation following a data breach for the financial and psychological damage caused.

The firm is currently representing more than 200 claimants following the Dixons Carphone data breach.

Hayes Connor Solicitors issued a claim for damages of up to £5 million against ticketing giant Ticketmaster in the High Court in April and is also acting against Equifax, British Airways, Marriott International, Amazon and the Police Federation following their data breaches.

For more information on Hayes Connor Solicitors, visit the website at

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