Well, actually, that’s exactly what you agreed to when you purchased the drive.
No hard drive manufacturer will cover the data, or loss thereof… they will only replace failed hardware.
So, regardless of who paid the shipping, all you’re going to get back under warranty is a recertified empty drive – you’re not going to get your data replaced. Again, you agreed to this when you purchased the drive.
What you’d actually need to do is pay an approved third party to attempt to recover your lost data if you can’t recover the data yourself, but it’s not guaranteed that their attempts would be successful.
This is why drive manufacturers and computer experts the world over repeatedly urge people to never trust important data to any one medium… everything will fail sooner or later, either through an act of god, or mechanical failure, or accidental damage, or anything else. That is why everyone says to backup (i.e. make a second or third or fourth copy of) important data.
It is unfortunate that you did lose a year’s worth of results. But the question remains… if it was that important, why was it the only copy you owned?