David Knifton KC

Call 1986
Silk 2018


"David is extremely bright and his ability to grasp complex matters is second-to-none. He is the best there is, he has excellent communication skills, and he is able to express himself very clearly."

The Legal 500 2024
Photo of David Knifton KC

Clinical Negligence

David practises exclusively in high-value personal injury and clinical negligence cases, primarily on behalf of claimants. He is recommended as a leader in those fields by both Chambers & Partners and The Legal 500. He will generally only accept new instructions in cases with a value in excess of £1m, and typically achieves settlements each year totalling over £20m.

David has extensive experience of high-value clinical negligence claims, including:

  • Wrongful birth
  • Obstetric injuries, including cerebral palsy
  • Failures/delays in diagnosis (particularly in cancer cases)
  • Consent issues
  • Negligent treatment
  • Claims against alternative medical practitioners

Described by an experienced clinical negligence solicitor as “inspirational to work with”, he wins widespread praise for his thorough preparation, sensitive client-handling, up to the minute legal knowledge, and excellent negotiation and advocacy skills. Chambers & Partners describes him as “An excellent strategist who is completely trusted by clients and will fight tooth and nail to get the best result possible”, whilst The Legal 500 describes him as having “great technical knowledge and a keen forensic eye for detail”.

Clinical Negligence Cases

C v Bolton NHS Foundation Trust (2019): Obstetric negligence case, in which the disclosure of mobile phone video footage of the delivery proved that the timings in the hospital notes were inaccurate, and the midwife failed to recognise a shoulder dystocia, leading to acute hypoxia and quadriplegic cerebral palsy.

D v St Helens & Knowsley NHS Trust (2020): Challenging clinical negligence claim, involving an alleged failure to refer a patient with a complex vascular formation to a specialist unit, leading to tumour progression and permanent spinal cord injury.

W v Bolton NHS Foundation Trust (2020): Alleged negligent failure to diagnose spinal epidural abscess, leading to incomplete spinal cord injury.

H v Dada (2019): Spinal cord infarction leading to paraplegia as a result of a significant reduction in spinal blood flow during the course of surgery to her spine, where it is alleged that the anaesthetist failed to monitor her blood pressure with sufficient frequency and failed to take steps before she suffered injury to her spinal cord.

S v South Tees Hospitals NHS Trust (2019): Complex claim involving a delay in detecting swelling of the optic nerve in a young child, resulting in blindness. Breach of duty has been admitted, but causation remains under investigation.

H v Rizvi, Garstang & Fernandes (2019): Above-knee amputation suffered as a result of the admitted negligence of 3 GPs to refer the Claimant urgently to hospital. As a consequence of the delay, he developed septic shock, leading to the need for a life-saving amputation.

Hawkin v Mid Yorks Hospitals (2018): Above-knee amputation, due to negligent delay in diagnosing critical limb ischaemia, resulting in a settlement of £1.7m in a case where the Claimant’s life expectancy was reduced.

C v The Walton Centre for Neurology & Neurosurgery NHS Trust (2018): David negotiated a settlement worth £3.9m on a global basis on behalf of an elderly patient who suffered a haemorrhagic stroke due to a negligent delay in managing her meningioma, in order to enable her to return home to live with her family with a 24-hour care team.

H v Mid Yorks Hospitals (2018): An award of £1.7m was negotiated on behalf of a man who required an above-knee amputation due to a negligent delay in diagnosing critical limb ischaemia, ensuring his prosthetic and other needs would be met throughout the remainder of his reduced life expectancy.

B v Central Manchester University Hospital (2016): Settlement of £1m negotiated on behalf of a 57 year-old man who suffered severe complications as a result of a negligent delay in detecting a leak following abdominal surgery, despite reduced life expectancy.

Jones v Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (2014): Settlement of almost £585,000 negotiated on behalf of young man who suffered an Erb’s palsy due to obstetric negligence when he presented with shoulder dystocia.

Banks v Wirral University Hospital (2014): David negotiated a settlement of £450,000 on behalf of a young woman who had suffered the premature onset of the menopause as a result of a negligent failure to diagnose cervical cancer from a routine smear test.

B v Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board (2018): Settlement of over £400,000 achieved for negligent delay in diagnosing HIV infection, leading to advanced HIV disease.