Tom Rochford Personal Injury

Call: 1984

Introduction

Tom studied law at Cambridge University, and has been a member of St Philips Chambers since its foundation.  He practises mainly in the fields of personal injury and clinical negligence.  Most of his cases are high value (£100,000 +) or complex.  He is instructed both by claimants and defendants (more claimant than defendant).  He is also instructed in commercial cases which are linked to his main fields of expertise (for example, professional negligence claims which arise from negligent handling of a personal injury case).  He is head of the Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence Groups within Chambers.  He is a School Governor of a primary school near his home in Warwickshire.

What the Directories Say:

  • “He’s always thoroughly prepared and has meticulously read through the papers. No matter how big the file is he will know it inside out.”, “He’s very client-focused and has a calm and personable approach.”, “Possibly one of the most approachable barristers in practice.” and “Clients really warm to him. He is knowledgeable and has great technical expertise.” – Chambers UK 2019
  • He has an impressive ability to instil calm into very stressful situations.” – Legal 500
  • He has a very quick grasp on matters and has a good nature with the clients.“, “He’s very impressive; very methodical with a good eye for detail.“, “He’s very good with clients that are distressed; he has got a sure touch with clients who are troubled.” – Chambers UK
  • Mainly represents claimants in high-value personal injury cases involving issues such as RTAs and employers’ liability. Instructing solicitors value his experience, thorough approach and client rapport. “He is courteous, persuasive and authoritative, and he knows the law inside and out. I would rather have him on my side than as an opponent.” – Chambers UK
  • “Very thorough, with excellent attention to detail in advice, pleadings and schedules.” – Legal 500

Qualifications and Appointments:

  • MA (Cantab)
  • Recorder (Crown Court and County Court)

Memberships:

  • Personal Injury Bar Association
  • Birmingham Medico-Legal Society
  • Employment Lawyers Association
  • Employment Law Bar Association

Personal Injury

Most of Tom’s cases are high value, and he is particularly sought after in cases where a thorough and detailed Schedule of Loss with complex calculation is required, especially where a novel point or argument needs to be advanced.  He has an interest in pension loss calculations.  Examples of ongoing and recent cases (PI and fatal) are set out below. Tom’s clinical negligence work is dealt with separately.

Recent and reported cases (see also under clinical negligence):

  • Nicholls v Ladbrokes [2013] EWCA Civ 1963, [2014] PIQR P14.  Employer’s liability case.  Armed raid on betting shop causing psychiatric injury to employee.  Issues of breach of duty and rejection by judge of employer’s expert evidence (security expert).
  • Wall v British Canoe Union (2015) (Birmingham County Court, HHJ Lopez, reported Lawtel and Westlaw).  Claim by widow of a canoeist who drowned after relying on a guide book before canoeing a dangerous river.  Application to strike out on the basis that producer of such a book owes no duty of care to its readers.
  • Claim by family of a man who committed suicide whilst a patient at a psychiatric hospital.  Modest value claim under the FAA / LRMPA, but more substantial claim under HRA and Article 2 and cases of Rabone and Savage. (Continuing)
  • Claim under the FAA / LRMPA (High Court) on behalf of a very young child whose parents were both killed.  Thereafter he was cared for by his grandmother, whose own health was very poor.  Settlement over £300,000 approved (September 2015).
  • Representing Claimant pedestrian, badly injured in road accident.  Rendered hemiplegic with other significant and continuing injuries.  Liability and quantum in issue.  Expert reports in road accident reconstruction, neuropsychology, neuropsychiatry, neurology, audio-vestibular disease, neuro-opthalmology, care, OT, SALT, AT, physio, orthotics, care, accommodation (architect). With leader.  Settlement achieved (Court approval awaited).  Lump sum and PPO, total value in excess of £3.3m.
  • Representing Defendant in liability trial by a young volunteer who sustained serious ankle injury (CRPS claimed) at a gym class where she was helping to move a mat.  Substantial finding of contributory negligence achieved (2015).  Quantum issues continuing.
  • Representing Claimant widow whose husband was killed when his fork lift truck overturned.  Issues as to employer’s insurance cover.  Settled for £200,000.   Court approval (required because children involved) awaited.  (2015).
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Catastrophic injuries

Much of Toms work falls into this category, and he routinely deals with cases that have a life changing effect upon the claimant and his or her family. Please see Toms general PI CV and his clinical negligence CV for details of the some of the cases he has dealt with. He is happy to work alongside a QC and a team of medical and other experts.

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Fatal Accidents

Tom has been instructed in many cases under the Fatal Accidents Act / LRMPA, including cases arising from exposure to asbestos.

Acting in FAA claim of a baby whose parents were both killed, leaving him to be cared for by his grandmother. Minor claims by other dependents of the deceased.

Acting for widow of man killed after contracting Legionnaires disease at holiday camp. Case complicated by insolvency of defendant.

Representing widow of a man killed when a roof on which he was standing gave way.

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Industrial Disease

Tom has dealt with cases involving exposure to asbestos (fatal and non-fatal), asthma, dermatitis, NIHL, WRULD.

Tom has lectured on the subject of stress at work.

Stress cases include:

  • Representing the employee of a LA who was bullied over a number of years by her manager. Substantial breakdown.
  • Representing the site manager of a crane company who was required to ascend an unstable mobile phone tower and suffered substantial psychiatric injury as a result.
  • Recently instructed by Claimant in her claim against a well-known firm of solicitors, who increased her workload and responsibilities to the extent that she because unwell
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Travel and Holiday Claims

Tom has represented a number of claimants who have suffered injury whilst working or holidaying abroad. Cases include representing the family of a boy who was allegedly sexually molested by hotel staff abroad.

Tom was instructed to advise a US law firm whose client was injured whilst changing planes at Heathrow. He was asked to advise as to whether she would have a claim under English law, which would have resulted, through the Montreal Convention, in her being able to claim in the US courts.

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