The claim “My hard drive failed” is the modern day equivalent of saying “The dog ate my homework”. While hard drives do indeed fail, it is an extremely rare case that data cannot be recovered from that drive, by computer forensic professionals.
There are several causes of hard drive failure, the experts have this information and statistics on the matter:
“Hard drive failure may be related to mechanical, electronic, or firmware failures. Mechanical failures occur when physical components of the device itself begin to wear or malfunction. Electronic failures occur when the printed circuit board (PCB) begins to produce errors. Finally, many hard drive failures are related to out-of-date, corrupt or buggy firmware.
In approximately 40% of cases–when there has been no physical damage to the hard drive–data may be retrieved by an in-house technical support person. These cases are often caused by human error, software corruption, or computer viruses.”