We stand with Ukraine to help keep people safe. Join us

Tags Data Protection

Can You Sue for Invasion of Privacy

You can sue someone for invasion of privacy. Such incidents have been successfully tackled under US civil law in the intrusion, false light, disclosure, and appropriation categories. However, winning invasion of privacy cases isn’t guaranteed. Secure your email and protect your data with Clario AntiSpy’s Online accounts check.

Table of contents

Average settlement for invasion of privacy

In the US, the punishment for invading someone’s privacy differs, depending on the state. A person convicted of violating someone’s privacy faces jail time of three months to 18 months. Additionally, they may be fined a maximum of $250,000. The penalty handed down depends on the nature of the incident and the implications thereof on the victim.

How to prove invasion of privacy

Step 1: Identifying the privacy invasion

To prove that your privacy has been invaded, you must be able to prove it. But before you do that, the first step is to identify that there has been a violation of your privacy.


Firstly, what is online privacy? Online privacy is how much of your personal, browsing, and financial data remains private when you’re on the internet. Digital privacy protection is important for anyone who uses the internet.


A privacy violation can take on many forms:

  • Disclosure. Sometimes called a public disclosure of private facts, disclosure is the malicious distribution of personal or confidential information that someone wouldn’t want to be made publicly available.
  • False light. This is when someone distributes false information about a victim or spreads factual information in an untrue manner. In other words, twisting the truth to present the victim in a false light.
  • Intrusion. Intrusion or intrusion upon seclusion is the act of invading a person’s privacy by invading their personal space, like their property.
  • Appropriation. Appropriation makes it illegal to use someone’s name, image, or likeness without their permission for commercial gain, especially if it causes them harm in some way.

Step 2: Proving the invasion of privacy

The second step is to prove the privacy invasion based on the categories listed above. For example, you must prove that your ex-boyfriend is maliciously spreading intimate photos of you online as part of a revenge plot (revenge porn). You can achieve this by taking screenshots of the content they’ve distributed and proving you sent them those images.


File a police report or press charges for invasion of privacy when you notice someone watching you in your home. Keep copies of advertisements using your name, image, or likeness without your consent. Additionally, you may also prove the damage or consequences suffered as a result of the privacy invasion. For instance, you can prove that you’ve lost employment as a result of the violation.

A tip from our experts

An individual who invades your privacy will most likely spy on you, too. In fact, they can obtain your confidential information by tapping your phone to spy on you. For example, a hacker or bad actor can monitor your calls and access your photos and location.

That’s why it’s always a good idea to use anti-spy software to protect yourself against identity theft. Clario AntiSpy’s Online accounts check is a 24/7 monitoring tool that looks out for data breaches. If your email address is compromised, a bad actor can gain access to your email account and all the sensitive data it contains. Prevent this by using Clario AntiSpy’s Online accounts check on your iOS or Android device.

  1. Download Clario Antispy and get a subscription to create an account
  2. Select Online accounts check > Scan new email
  3. Enter your email address and tap Scan new email
  4. If Clario finds a leak, enter the code Clario sent to your email for verification purposes
  5. Click Verify, then follow the prompts to protect your data.

Do you need a lawyer?

If you want to successfully sue for invasion of privacy, you must use a lawyer with experience in invasion of privacy lawsuits. You can find a qualified lawyer by performing a Google search, from a referral, or by contacting the state bar association in your state.


Contact a lawyer and set up a consultation. If you can’t afford a lawyer or are unsure about pursuing legal action, it would benefit you to at least meet with one for a consultation. They may give you legal advice on how to proceed with your case, like how to prepare for the court process and present your case in court.

How much can you get from the charges?

If you’re sure that you have a valid invasion of privacy case, you can be compensated for emotional distress. Compensation isn’t always guaranteed. The amount of money you receive is informed by the type of violation that took place and how it affected you as the plaintiff.


In addition to jail time of up to a year or a year and a half, perpetrators can be fined. The average settlement for an invasion of privacy ranges from $1,000 up to $250,000. The defendant can be ordered to amend their security policies and settings. In some cases, you can seek damages for both emotional and physical suffering. Injunctions and disgorgement are your options for compensation.

How to sue for a privacy violation

Suing for an invasion of privacy incident isn’t a walk in the park. It’s a meticulous process, as there are several steps to take.


Below is the process to follow when suing for a privacy violation:

Preparing to sue

The way you prepare for a case can determine whether you’ll be successful or not. Start by clearly identifying the privacy violation and gathering all necessary evidence. Ensure you have records of the damage caused as a result of your privacy violation.


Speak with a lawyer about your options. Share all the details of your case, including the evidence you’ve gathered. They’ll know how to legally advise you and share your options with you. They’ll also know which laws are applicable in your case and in the state you’re in. If there are alternative solutions you can take, they’ll let you know and advise you accordingly.


Finally, discuss your legal options with your lawyer:

  • Compensation. The court will order the person who violated your privacy to pay you money to make up for the financial and emotional damage you’ve endured as a result of their behavior.
  • Punitive damages. This is when the offender is ordered to pay you over and above the compensation as a means to punish them.
  • An injunction. The court may forbid the offender from doing something. For example, it can order a business to stop using your name, image, or likeness in their advertisements.
  • Disgorgement of profits. If the offender benefited financially from invading your privacy, the judge can force them to pay you the profits they made.

Filing a lawsuit in court

Your next course of action is filing a lawsuit against the offender in court. Your lawyer should help you with this process and subsequent steps. However, you can do it yourself, too.


Obtain a complaint form from the clerk in court and fill it out. If you can’t get a complaint form, ask for a sample one so that you can write one up yourself.


Ensure the document contains all the key details, like:

  • Your full name and contact details
  • The defendant’s full name and contact details
  • What you are suing for, how much you want to be compensated, and why
  • A detailed description of the privacy invasion, including dates
  • Stipulate whether you want a jury present.

Make copies of your complaint form and take those and the original document to the court clerk. The court clerk will file the complaint—ensure they file the original copy. They will stamp your copies with the date. The offender should receive one, too. Note that you may have to pay a filing fee. If you can’t afford it, you can ask for a fee waiver form. Consider calling the courthouse to confirm the fee and payment options before filing to avoid any surprises.


Next, you must ensure the defendant receives your complaint by sending them a copy and a summons, which the court clerk will give you. A summons means they must respond to the lawsuit, which is a legal command to respond to the lawsuit. You can have the notice handed to the offender by a sheriff or anyone over the age of 18 who isn’t involved or included in the lawsuit.


Once that’s done, you must file proof of service or affidavit of service. This is a form that states you’ve delivered the complaint. It must be filed by the person who served the defendant. The proof of service form can be obtained from the court clerk. Ensure you make a copy for yourself and hand it into the court.

Performing pre-trial tasks

We’ve mentioned that the process of suing isn’t a straightforward one. As such, there are pre-trial steps to be taken:

  1. Participate in discovery. This is a process in which both parties can gather evidence to aid their cases. You may have to sit down for depositions, conduct witness interviews, subpoena several people, and gather relevant documents.
  2. Defend against a motion for summary judgment. The defendant likely won’t want to go to trial. As such, they would file a motion for summary judgment. This is a document that seeks to have the judge rule in their favor. All you have to do to stop this is provide documents to prove you have a valid case against the defendant.
  3. Take part in settlement discussions. The court process can be long and costly, so both parties might benefit from settling out of court. This involves discussions to come to a resolution that avoids the court process. If this is successful, you must inform the court.
  4. Prepare for the trial process. If there was no settlement, start preparing to go to court. Your lawyer should take care of everything at this point, like ensuring all the paperwork, including evidence, is in order.

Going to court

The final step in suing for invasion of privacy is going to court. Here are some tips for the court process:

  1. Be early
  2. Deliver an opening statement
  3. Testify
  4. Cross-examine the defendant’s witnesses
  5. Deliver closing statements
  6. Appeal the judgment as necessary.

Successfully suing for invasion of privacy

Suing someone for invading your privacy is a long and costly process. However, you have the right to legally take action and call the offender to book. The most important thing is to have all your paperwork and evidence in order to prove the violation. If you can afford it, ensure you get an experienced lawyer to assist with your case and increase your chances of winning.


You can help prevent some invasion of privacy incidents by using Clario AntiSpy’s Online accounts check tool. It gives you a heads-up when your email has been compromised as part of a data breach.

Keep reading

Prevent privacy invasions with Clario AntiSpy’s Online accounts check.

Get started