As Thompsons Solicitors’ professional support lawyer, David Robinson is responsible for ensuring the highest possible standards among his colleagues across the firm’s nationwide network of offices. Based in Thompsons’ Newcastle office, David regularly organises training for the firm’s executives and ensures that best practice is delivered at all times.
David combines this role with active involvement in serious injury claims, and assisting Thompsons’ head of personal injury strategy, Gerard Stilliard. Together, they maintain Thompsons’ strong and longstanding reputation as a campaigning law firm which is keen to promote the best interests of its clients.
David has worked for Thompsons for eight years, developing a nationally-renowned expertise in cases involving members of the armed forces and, in recent years, has also built a reputation in claims involving the aviation industry.
David’s caseload is dominated by high value personal injury cases in which the victim has sustained extremely serious and sometimes fatal injuries.
These cases tend to involve disease and serious trauma to the brain and spine, sustained at work or in road traffic accidents. Sometimes the accidents have resulted in amputations, loss of sight or serious psychiatric conditions. On occasion, David represents the next of kin of people who have died from disease or from injury.
A key part of David’s expertise is his formidable negotiation skills, which enables him to win the highest possible compensation without prolonged negotiations.
David is prepared to go to great lengths to secure a fair settlement for his clients as exemplified by the case involving the death of Jake Thompson and the serious neurological condition suffered by former RAF man Shaun Wood who had been exposed to dangerous toxins.
David expresses his pride in the lengths Thompsons goes to to provide an unbeatable all-round service to clients. He says: “We go above and beyond to ensure that our client’s interests, even outside the direct legal case, are protected. We view clients as individuals, not a statistic on a spreadsheet.”
Away from his duties at Thompsons, David joined Cleveland police in 2010 and rose to the rank of chief officer of the special constabulary by December 2013. He is a director of a multi-academy school trust and a legally qualified chair of the Medical Practitioners Tribunal, which protects patients from malpractice by doctors. He is also chair of Road Peace North East, which seeks to provide support to victims of road crashes and their families, friends and communities.
David spends as much time as he can with his family, going on regular walks with his wife and children, “mainly Gruffalo hunting!” he says.
David’s case experience
Military injury claim: David helped a young Territorial Army (now Army Reserve) soldier secure a multi-million pound settlement from the Ministry of Defence (MoD) after an avoidable accident on a training exercise, in which his rifle was discharged, caused him life-changing injuries. The soldier turned to Thompsons Solicitors for legal advice in making a military accident claim. The MoD admitted it was at fault but then sought to discredit the soldier, questioning the extent of the injuries sustained and suggesting through its nominated experts that the injuries may be “grossly exaggerated” and not “wholly genuine”. David successfully argued that the MoD had no basis for their accusations.
Military injury claim: At the High Court, a former Royal Navy Able Seaman succeeded in defeating the MoD’s “combat immunity defence” and obtained a judgment for damages. Michael Knights, 30, currently of Southminster, was deployed as a detainee handler at a “temporary holding facility” in Camp Bastion used by British forces to detain Afghan prisoners.
On 12 November 2012, detainees rioted after a British Government decision to hold them for longer periods. Military experts involved in the case agreed the riot was foreseeable and therefore preventable. Mr Knights managed to climb razor wire and escape the rioters, but has since suffered from significant Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). He was discharged from military service following the incident and has since struggled to find alternative employment due to his mental trauma.
Fatal injury claim: David represented the family of a tree surgeon who was killed when part of a colleague’s strimmer broke off and hit his head while working as a subcontractor to another tree surgeon. The piece of metal was travelling about 300mph. The strimmer and its attachment has now been banned from use.
The company in control of the workplace was charged with failing to ensure the safety of workers by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). 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 traffic 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 specialist help 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.
Brain injury claim: David acted for an RAF Corporal, Shaun Wood, 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 to which he was exposed, Mr Wood was diagnosed with Multiple System Atrophy-P (MSAP), a Parkinsonian condition which affects the nervous system.
With Thompsons’ help, Mr Wood won a major battle against the MoD in the High Court. 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 when the Court held that there was, in legal terms, a “probable connection” between heavy solvent exposure and neurological damage.
David is 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.
He 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).
Mr Michael Knights, a military injury claims client, said: “I went to Afghanistan with my eyes open – I knew it would not be easy, however the government made decisions that placed servicemen in unnecessary danger. The riot has left me suffering a host of psychological problems that mean I can no longer serve in the military and cannot find other work.
“Thompsons Solicitors has been with me every step of the way and obtaining this judgment against the MoD means that I will now be able to provide for my wife and children.”
Mr Shaun Wood, a military injury claims 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 has 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: In 2015, the Legal 500 referred to David as a “military claims expert”. In 2017, it said, “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.”
Chambers and Partners : The body says, “His intellectual grasp is first-class and he is committed to the cause of his client”.