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Is a Data Breach a Legal Issue?

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If your personal information was compromised in a data breach, you may be feeling violated, angry, or powerless. With an experienced data breach lawyer on your side, you can hold the company accountable. You may be eligible to partake in a data breach class action lawsuit with the help of our attorneys.

The Legal Parties in a Data Breach

Most data breaches have four legally relevant parties: the perpetrator, government organizations, the breached organization, and data breach victims. 

Hackers and State/Federal Government Organizations 

Hackers and other cybercriminals may be guilty of a misdemeanor or felony offense, depending on the specifics of the case in question. In general, the perpetrator of a data breach is guilty of charges including identity theft and computer fraud, which can result in jail time. Don't pin your hopes for justice on a criminal case against the perpetrator, though. 

Due to the nature of data crimes, hackers are often able to act anonymously. Even when authorities identify a ransomware gang as the perpetrators, this is often inadequate to find the guilty individuals and press charges. Likewise, criminal cases are primarily concerned with assigning guilt and punishment - not restoring what victims have lost. Attaining damages for your lost data will typically require a civil lawsuit against the corporation that experienced the breach. 

Breached Organizations and Data Breach Victims 

The legal interests of a data breach victim go without saying. A victim of a data breach faces a wide range of risks; someone can commit financial fraud against them or steal their medical benefits. They might even face arrest for a crime they didn't commit, if someone commits a crime and gives the police their information. While it's often impossible to undo the damage of a data breach, a victim of a breach can pursue monetary damages for various types of risks and losses. 

In most cases, the only way for victims to win these damages is a civil lawsuit against the breached organization. While a criminal case seeks to assign guilt for breaking the law, a civil lawsuit has lower burdens of proof and focuses on the damages done to the plaintiff. If you can prove that the company was negligent in handling your data and that the breach was preventable, you can win monetary and emotional damages. 

Can You Sue for a Data Breach?

Companies have a duty to protect the data of their customers, and this is possible by training personnel to reduce human error or by using robust technical measures. If they fail to implement these measures, then they can be liable in civil court for the damages that data breach victims suffer. 

However, not all data breaches are easily preventable. It’s possible for a business to take every reasonable precaution against data breaches, and still suffer a cyberattack or lose consumer data. Ultimately, winning your civil data breach case is a matter of proving that the business was negligent and that this negligence either caused the breach or worsened your damages related to it. 

That said, suing for a data breach comes with a variety of challenges. Companies often maintain large legal teams and can fight legal challenges for years. Despite that, it's possible to counter these advantages in expertise and resources. By pooling your resources with other victims in a class action lawsuit and working with a data breach lawyer, you radically increase your odds of success. 

By conducting a data breach investigation, your lawyer can uncover whether or not the business was negligent in handling your data. 

How Do You Investigate a Data Breach?

Data breach lawyers use the same analytical expertise and legal knowledge that applies to, say, a car accident case. However, they also have experience and knowledge of computer fraud law and related fields, together with expert connections. A data breach lawsuit can call in experts in fields like encryption and computer fraud to make the strongest case possible. 

How Much Does It Cost to Sue for a Data Breach?

Suing for a data breach should only ever cost a portion of your winnings, with no cost if the lawsuit fails. For instance, teams like the law firm of Console & Associates, P.C. will offer free consultations and will never charge you directly to move forward with your claim. If they win compensation in court, they'll take a portion of the damages you collect. If they don't win, they don't get paid. 


How Much Can I Sue for After a Data Breach?

A few factors that influence how much you can win in a data breach include: 

  • The statutory damages amounts defined by legal statutes 
  • The extent of your damages related to breach-related fraud
  • Whether or not the perpetrator stole your SSN and name
  • Whether you've already suffered actual identity theft, or if you're still only at risk 
  • State laws defining statutory damages for data breach claims 

Reach out to our data breach lawyers to learn your legal options. 

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