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The Importance of Legal Representation in Data Breach Cases:

Updated: Mar 28

How a Solicitor Can Help You Protect Your Rights.


In today's digital age, personal data has become an increasingly valuable commodity, with companies and organisations collecting and processing vast amounts of information about individuals.

However, with this increased reliance on personal data comes an increased risk of data breaches, which can significantly harm individuals financially and emotionally.

This article will discuss the importance of obtaining legal advice and representation if you have been affected by a data breach and how a solicitor can help you navigate the legal process in Ireland.

Overview of the Data Protection Act 2018 and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

The Data Protection Act 2018 and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) are two important pieces of legislation in Ireland that provide legal protections for individuals regarding the processing and protecting of personal data.

The GDPR is a regulation that the European Union introduced in May 2018, and it sets out rules for collecting, using, and storing personal data. The Data Protection Act 2018 was introduced in Ireland to supplement the GDPR and ensure that Irish law is aligned with EU data protection law.

Under the GDPR and the Data Protection Act 2018, individuals have several necessary rights regarding their data. Companies that handle personal data are required to comply with the GDPR and the Data Protection Act 2018.

This includes ensuring that personal data is processed lawfully, fairly, and transparently and that appropriate measures are in place to protect the data from unauthorised access, loss, or damage. Companies that fail to comply with these laws can face significant legal and financial consequences.

Understanding Your Legal Rights

Under the Data Protection Act 2018 and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Ireland, individuals have certain rights regarding the processing and protecting their data.

These rights include the right to access their data, the right to have their data erased, the right to restrict the processing of their personal data, and the right to object to the processing of their personal data.

Additionally, individuals have the right to be informed about the collection and use of their personal data and to have their personal data protected against unauthorised access, use, and disclosure.

Under Article 82 of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR,) if you have suffered material or non-material damage as the result of a data protection breach, then you have the right to seek compensation.

Types of Data Breaches and Legal Consequences

Data breaches can occur in many ways and have severe consequences for individuals and companies handling their data. Some common types of personal data breaches include:

  1. Hacking involves unauthorised access to a computer or network to steal sensitive personal data.

  2. Phishing is when a data subject is tricked into providing their data by responding to fraudulent emails or websites.

  3. Malware: This malicious software steals and processes personal data from a computer or network.

  4. Human error can include accidentally sending personal data to the wrong person or failing to secure personal data appropriately.

When a data breach occurs, the Company responsible may be liable for any harm caused to individuals. This can include financial losses, such as identity theft or unauthorised transactions, as well as non-financial losses, such as emotional distress or damage to reputation. Companies that fail to protect personal data may face legal consequences, such as fines, penalties, or legal action from affected individuals or regulatory authorities such as the Irish Data Protection Commission.

Under the GDPR, companies can be fined up to €20 million or 4% of their global annual turnover, whichever is greater. In addition to financial penalties, companies may face reputational damage and loss of customer trust.


How A Solicitor Can Help You Navigate The Complaint Process And Ensure That Your Rights Are Protected

The Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC) is responsible for enforcing data protection laws in Ireland. You can file a complaint with the DPC if you believe a company or organisation has violated your data protection rights.

To file a complaint, you must provide the DPC with information about the personal data breach or violation of your rights, including details about the Company or organisation responsible and the harm caused. You can file a complaint online, by email, or by post.

Once the DPC receives your complaint, they will investigate the matter and determine whether the Company or organisation has violated data protection laws. If the DPC finds a violation has occurred, it can take a range of actions, including imposing fines or ordering the Company to take corrective action.

Assessing Damages and Calculating Compensation

Data breaches can cause a range of damages, both financial and non-financial. Financial damages can include direct financial losses, credit monitoring services costs, or income loss. Non-financial damages can include harm to reputation, emotional distress, or loss of privacy.

A solicitor specialising in data protection and GDPR can help you assess the extent of the harm caused by the data breach and calculate an appropriate level of compensation. They can also help you determine the damages you may be entitled to, including economic and non-economic damages.

Negotiating with the Company Responsible

A solicitor can also help you negotiate with the Company responsible for the breach to reach a fair settlement. They can represent you in discussions with the Company and help you understand your legal rights and options. If necessary, they can also take legal action to ensure your rights are protected.

Legal options are available if the Company is unwilling to negotiate a settlement, including taking the matter to court.

Representing You in Court

If you decide to pursue legal action, a solicitor specialising in data protection and GDPR can represent you in court. They can help you understand the legal process, prepare your case, and advocate for your interests in court.

The legal process for data breach cases in Ireland typically involves filing a data breach claim, serving the claim on the defendant, and participating in pre-trial procedures, including discovery and mediation. If the matter goes to trial, a judge will hear evidence from both sides and decide.

Providing Peace of Mind

Hiring a solicitor specialising in data protection claims and GDPR can provide peace of mind during a stressful and overwhelming time. They can help you navigate the complaint process, assess damages, negotiate with the Company responsible, and represent you in court if necessary.

In addition, a solicitor can provide you with expert legal advice and support, helping you understand your legal rights and options and advocating for your interests throughout the process.

Conclusion

A data breach can be a devastating experience for individuals, with potential financial, reputational, and emotional consequences. Therefore, seeking legal representation is crucial to protect your rights and receive appropriate compensation for any damages suffered.

By working with a solicitor specialising in data protection and GDPR, you can better understand your legal rights and navigate the data breach claims process with greater ease. They can help you gather evidence, draft a comprehensive complaint, and advocate on your behalf to ensure that the relevant authorities hear your case.

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