David Robinson is Thompsons Solicitors’ Newcastle-based professional support lawyer, and is responsible for delivering training and best practice guidance to colleagues in the firm’s offices throughout the UK. David works closely with trade unions as well as assisting the head of personal injury strategy, Gerard Stilliard, with campaign initiatives.
Having worked for Thompsons for eight years, David’s background is in serious injury claims and in representing members of the armed forces, having developed a wealth of expertise and a national reputation in these fields over a number of years. In more recent years, he has developed expertise in aviation claims. The serious injury claims he deals with often involve catastrophic or life-changing injuries, such as amputations and injuries to the head, brain and spine. Many of the cases involve accidents at work, work-related diseases and road traffic accidents. The cases can involve loss of sight and severe psychiatric problems. He also represents the families of those who have died as a result of their injuries.
David has a wealth of experience dealing with high value serious injury claims and his strong negotiating skills ensure his clients receive the maximum amount of compensation in the shortest time possible. David is committed to ensuring justice for his clients and will go the extra mile, as highlighted in the fight for justice for Jake Thompson, who was a UNISON member, and for former RAF Corporal Shaun Wood, whose cases are detailed below.
David is proud of the investment Thompsons makes in clients, ensuring that the level of service is second to none. “We often go above and beyond to ensure that a client’s interests, even outside the direct legal case, are protected. We view clients as individuals, not a statistic on a spreadsheet,” he says.
In his spare time, David is a director of a multi-academy schools trust, chair of Road Peace North East and a legally qualified chair of the Medical Practitioners Tribunal through which he seeks to protect the public from doctors who are either guilty of misconduct or who under-perform. He is also chief officer of Cleveland Police Special Constabulary.
In his spare time, David goes on regular walks with his wife and children, “mainly Gruffalo hunting!”
DAVID'S CASE EXPERIENCE
Serious injury claim: David acted for the family of a tree surgeon who was killed when part of a metal chain on a colleague’s strimmer broke off and hit his head while he was helping to clear vegetation as a subcontractor to another tree surgeon. The piece of metal was travelling about 300mph. The strimmer and its attachment has now been banned across Europe. The company in overall control of the workplace was charged by the Health and Safety Executive with failing to ensure the safety of workers. The claim was settled out of court for a six figure sum.
Road traffic accident claim: After suffering a crushing injury to his legs in a road accident in a private car park, another of David’s clients had to have one of his legs amputated. Within weeks of the accident, David had recovered an interim payment for the client which paid for adaptations to be made to his house, together with care to get him mobile again. David went on to recover a substantial amount of compensation for the man which took into account his life-changing injuries.
Fatal injury claim: An elderly lady and union member died from a heart attack after tripping in her own home over a cable that a heating engineer had left stretched out across her dark carpet. She fell, fracturing her hip and wrist and died the following day. Acting for the lady’s daughter, David recovered compensation for the family who were pleased that the claim highlighted the dangerous practice that had caused her untimely death.
Military injury claim: David acted for an RAF Corporal who was left with a life-changing neurological condition after he was exposed to dangerous toxins when working as a painter and finisher for the RAF. As a result of his working conditions and the dangerous chemicals he was exposed to, Shaun Wood was diagnosed with Multiple System Atrophy-P (MSAP), a Parkinsonian condition that affects the nervous system. Mr Wood, with Thompsons’ help, won a significant battle against the Ministry of Defence (MoD) in the High Court. However following an appeal by the MoD in 2011, David worked with Mr Wood taking the case to the Court of Appeal. Victory came for Mr Wood again as the Court held that there was, in legal terms, a “probable connection” between heavy solvent exposure and neurological damage.
Fatal injury claim: David supported John and Janet Thompson, parents of 27-year-old road accident victim Jake, a Unison member. Jake was killed by the speeding driver of an HGV vehicle while using a pedestrian crossing - in a successful civil claim for damages. In addition to the claim, David campaigned alongside Jake’s family to force the police to review evidence in the hope that it would result in a criminal prosecution. Following more than 18 months of campaigning, the driver of the HGV vehicle was eventually brought before the criminal courts. The judge ruled that the case lacked sufficient evidence, even with an eye-witness testimony and proof of the driver travelling at 38mph, despite a 30mph speed limit, through changing traffic lights. Despite the trial outcome, Thompsons continues to support Jake’s family in the campaign for better road safety. Read Jake’s story.
David is a trustee and secretary of Headway Teesside, a brain injury charity; Chair of Road Peace North East and a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL).
He is also a Member of the Royal British Legion Solicitors' Group and regularly attends the military rehabilitation centre at Headley Court to provide advice to service personnel.
Mr Shaun Wood, a military injury claim client, said: “It has been a very long fight to get to this point from the day I was told back in the 1990s that I wasn’t entitled to legal aid. That was just the start. I never accepted that I wouldn’t be able to get justice and Thompsons Solicitors have been behind me since 2007 and enabled me to fight this to the end.
“I come from a military family and making the decision to pursue compensation went against my instincts but when I die my wife will be left without an income because my war pension will be taken away and I have always wanted to ensure that she is provided for in the future.”
Legal 500 (2015): The body referred to David as a “military claims expert” and Chambers and Partners say that “his intellectual grasp is first-class and he is committed to the cause of his client”.
Legal 500 (2017): “Robinson is recognised for his expertise advising members of the armed forces on serious injury claims and his work in catastrophic injury claims involving amputations, spinal cord injuries and head and brain injuries.”