a highly motivated and commercially minded junior barrister

Tom Vonberg
Year of Call 2004

Tom has significant advocacy experience in a broad range of litigation at all levels of tribunal. He has conducted countless final hearings as a sole advocate and worked with leading QC’s in cases of particular importance.

Tom is a specialist in complex or high value injury litigation, professional negligence, insurance coverage disputes and costs law relating to his areas of practice.

Before coming the independent bar, Tom was an employed barrister in commercial disputes at an offshore law firm.

Tom is also an associate barrister at the leading northern set Exchange Chambers.

  • Personal Injury

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    Tom’s practice involves complex and high value personal injuries, clinical negligence litigation at all levels and acting as a junior in catastrophic injury claims.

    He has significant experience of the full range of injuries including brain, spinal, amputation and fatalities. Tom has also worked on a number of multi-party actions in relation to product liability, air and road accidents and in respect of injury and illness abroad.

    Tom is often instructed to defend claims on the basis of dishonesty in relation to motor and other policies of insurance.

    Tom also has expertise in the law of costs, professional negligence and insurance disputes arising out of injury litigation.

    Cases

    Tom has experience of working with the leading firms and insurers. Some of his cases remain confidential. The following is only a selection of his recent representative litigation.

    Serious and Catastrophic Injury

    • Brain Injury; Mr A v A Hotel. High Court. Occupiers’ liability. Settled at JSM for £1.4m. Led by Rob Weir QC, instructed by Foot Anstey.
    • Brain injury; Zaczkowsski v (1) Mehmood & (2) Gardner. High Court. For defendant in brain injury claim. Case settled on first day of trial for £1m after concession of contributory negligence by the claimant. Led by Andrew Hogarth QC.
    • Spinal Injury; Black v Durowoju. High Court. Settled at JSM for £1.9m.
    • Spinal Injury; Priestley v Elland Steel Structures. High Court. Crushing injury sustained at work. Led by Steve Killalea QC, instructed by Irwin Mitchell Leeds.
    • Amputation; Hennessy v Greenwaste Recycling. Amputation at work by the rotating arm of a waste silo. Led by Rob Weir QC, instructed by Hugh James LLP.
    • Orthopaedic; Potter v Rossiter. Multiple leg fractures following RTA. Leg shortening and PTSD. Ogden 7 future loss in issue. Settled following Defendant Part 36 three weeks prior to trial. Instructed by NewLaw, Cardiff.
    • Secondary victim; (1) Pomrey (2) Davies v (1) Marks & Spencer PLC (2) Thyssenkrupp Elevator UK Limited. Claim by relative and witness to catastrophic injury sustained in a lift crash. Led by Rob Weir QC, instructed by Slater & Gordon (UK) LLP.
    • Military; Soldier H v MOD (2014). Gunshot wound sustained during live firing exercise. Issue whether non-negligent hearing loss was a novus actus for the purpose of quantum of the military pension. Settled at JSM. Instructed by Foot Anstey.
    • Aviation; Pilot v (1) Skytech UK & (2) Helicopter Technology Company US; helicopter crash due to defective rotary blades occurring in the UK but maintenance carried out in the US. Led by Rob Weir QC, instructed by Foot Anstey.
    • Fatality; A minor v Aviva Insurance; on behalf of dependent minor which unusually went to a contested quantum trial and at which the claimant beat the defendant’s and (by just £300) his own Part 36 Offers. Instructed by Irwin Mitchell London. Leading silk for D.

    Multi-party litigation and accidents abroad

    • Athens Convention; “MS Boudicca”. Admiralty Court. Acting for 34 claimants. High profile series of claims following gastroenteritis sustained on-board cruise ship by passengers in successive years. Claims ongoing. Instructed by Irwin Mitchell Birmingham;
    • Coach crash; High Court. Acting for 15 students and the estates of 3 in claims against a tour company following the “roll over” of safari coach in South Africa. Accident reported in the national press. Liability compromised and quantum continues to be contested.
    • Package Regulations; High Court. Tom has acted in many claims against tour operators for illness sustained abroad. Instructed by Irwin Mitchell Birmingham.
    • Product liability. Methylisothiazolinone (MIT) in cosmetic products. Advised in relation to the liability of cosmetic producers. Instructed by Leigh Day London.
    • Coach crash; “Bestival Coach Crash”. Inquest. Instructed by the family of Michael Molloy tragically killed following a tyre blow out. Rule 43 report by Coroner to Minister of Transport regarding tyre legislation. Case covered in the national press. Instructed by Thompsons Liverpool.

    Professional Negligence, Insurance and Costs in Personal Injury

    • Claims handlers negligence; Southern Rock Insurance v Claims Manager (anon). High Court. Negligent handling of 50,000 motor insurance personal injury claims. Instructed in relation to valuation evidence. Settled for £7m. Led by Richard Harrison, instructed by Hogan Lovells London.
    • Solicitors negligence; Tom has acted for claimants and defendants in a large number of claims concerning negligent conduct (failure to obtain evidence, conduct leading to strike out or sanctions etc), undersettlement (including in chronic pain claims) and in relation to funding arrangements.
    • Personal injury indemnity insurance; Besley v Canopius. Successful appeal to the Financial Ombudsman Service against refusal of indemnity under household policy for underlying injury claim in excess of £1m. Instructed by Wilkins Beaumont Suckling London.
    • RTA declaratory proceedings; Mitsui v (1) Jolil & (2) Southern Rock. Insurer’s pre-action disclosure application for documents against third party insurer following declaratory proceedings to avoid a policy of motor insurance. Led by Rob Weir QC.
    • Property Damage; “Buncefield”. Tom was instructed by Plexus Law in relation to a number of property damage and injury claims arising out of the Buncefield explosions.
    • Wasted costs; acting for Ageas insurance in various claims against solicitors for costs following strike out pursuant to section 51 of the Senior Courts Act 1981.
    • Fraud; during 2014 & 2015, Tom has been instructed in at least 20 trials across the county in which dishonesty or fraud is pleaded in relation to motor claims. All claims have been successfully defended. Instructed by Ford & Warren Leeds.
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  • Clinical Negligence

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    Tom’s practice involves complex and high value personal injuries, clinical negligence litigation at all levels and acting as a junior in catastrophic injury claims. He has undertaken a large number of clinical negligence claims in the full range of medical disciplines and ofteninvolving multiple experts

    Cases

    Tom has experience of working with the leading firms and insurers. Some of his cases remain confidential. The following is only a selection of his recent representative litigation.

    • OrthopaedicPersonal trainer v Epsom & Ewell Trust (2015); Lower limb surgery resulting in crippling injuries. Settled two weeks before 5 day High Court liability trial. Led by Rob Weir QC, instructed by Irwin Mitchell London.
    • OrthopaedicLansley v Heatherwood And Wrexham Park Hospital NHS Trust. High Court. Division of tendon during bunion surgery performed on ballerina. Case settled following exchange of pleadings. Instructed by Irwin Mitchell London.
    • ObstetricsFirearms officer v Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust; High Court. Failure to repair sphincter injury postpartum resulting in incontinence and an inability to return to work. Settled following joint reports. Instructed by Pattinson Brewer London.
    • ObstetricsTitchener v Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust. Failure to diagnose pre-eclampsia and perform a caesarean section soon enough. Instructed by Pattinson Brewer London.
    • Brain injuryWhelband v (1) Marvell (2) Blue Anchor Leisure (3) East Midlands Ambulance NHS Trust (4) United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS; defence of doorman following a fight. Dispute on causation of catastrophic brain injury as between the fight and the subsequent surgery. Led by Rob Weir QC.
    • BariatricsKaur v (1) Surgicare Limited (2) Mr Kumar (3) NMI Healthcare Limited. Defence of clinic in claim for negligent gastric band surgery. Successfully obtained full indemnity from D2 & D3.
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  • Professional Negligence

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    Professional negligence work forms a substantial part of Tom’s practice. He is often instructed by the insurers of legal and financial professionals. He also acts for Claimants against their own lawyers and, in particular, brokers of financial products.

    Cases

    The following is a selection of Tom’s recent cases. Some matters remain confidential.

    Financial

    • Investment advice; Investors in the Protected Asset TEP Number 2 Fund. High Court. Defending IFA’s against investors following reclassification of an investment fund from low to high volatility. Instructed by DWF London.
    • Broker’s negligence; Rat Race (Events) Limited v Towergate Underwriting Group Limited. Wasted costs obtained against claimant solicitor following his interim costs application post settlement. Instructed by Reynolds Coleman Bradley LLP London.
    • ICOBS; several defences to broker’s negligence claims involving alleged breach of ICOBS in matters ranging from arrangement of fleet policies to professional indemnity cover.
    • Brokers’ indemnity claim; “Keydata”. Claim against professional indemnity insurer who argued aggregation following the mis-selling of financial products by brokers. Led by Colin Wynter QC.

    Solicitors

    • Conveyancing; Stone v Steed & Steed Solicitors. Successful claim against solicitor for conveyance of an incomplete barn conversion where the vendor was a limited company;
    • Sale and Rent back; Investor claim. Scope of solicitor’s duty to advise on the validity of contracts in the absence of a written retainer.
    • Buy to Let; Morkot & Ors v Watson Brown Solicitors {2014] EWHC 3439 (QB). Breach of fiduciary duty in buy to let transactions. Tom drafted pleadings in the successful test case.
    • Personal injury; Tom has acted in a number of claims and defences where the underlying action was for personal injury and following which lawyers have been sued for all manner of reasons such as negligent advice, negligent conduct (often resulting in strike out or court sanctions) and undersettlment.  
    • Claims handlers; Southern Rock Insurance v Claims Manager (anon). High Court. Negligent handling of 50,000 motor insurance personal injury claims. Instructed in relation to valuation evidence. Settled for £7m. Led by Richard Harrison, instructed by Hogan Lovells London.
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  • Insurance & Reinsurance

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    Tom has been instructed in all manner of insurance coverage disputes. He undertakes work on points of discrete insurance law but also where the underling claims concern personal injury or professional liability and in which he has substantial expertise.

    Cases

    The following is a selection of Tom’s recent cases. Some matters remain confidential. 

    • Indemnity; A Computer Company Ltd v Carraig Insurance Company Limited. High Court. Part 20 claim for an indemnity under a policy of insurance. Instructed by DWF LLP London.
    • Aggregation; Brokers v Their Professional Indemnity Insurers. High Court. Insurer argued aggregation following mis-selling of “Keydata” financial products. Led by Colin Wynter QC.
    • Non-disclosure; Insured v Canopius Underwriting Limited. Financial Ombudsman Service. Successful appeal to FOS following insurers refusal of indemnity for reasons of non-disclosure under a household policy in a personal injury claim  of over £1m. Instructed by Wilkins Beaumont Suckling London.
    • Declaratory proceedings; Grosvenor v Southern Rock. High Court. Pre-action disclosure in catastrophic injury case of documents relied upon by insurer to avoid policy of motor insurance.
    • Property damage; Tom has acted for a number of insurers in the defence of claims for property damage and consequential loss.
    • ICOBS; Craschcare v various insurers. Advising the crashcare group on multiple claims against insurers for breach of regulatory requirements in respect of their own policyholders and third party claimants.
    • Motor claims; Tom has substantial experience acting for insurers where the policy has been successfully avoided for non-disclosure and/or misrepresentation and in instances where the insured is suspected of dishonesty or fraud.
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Memberships & Associations

Personal injuries bar association

Professional negligence bar association

Professional negligence lawyers association

British insurance law association

Education

LLB, University of Durham

Public access qualified

Authorised by the Bar Standards Board to conduct litigation

Personal interests

Sports

Entrepreneurship