About Oliver Chapman
Oliver has specialised in clinical negligence and personal injury litigation since qualifying as a solicitor in 2009.
Oliver is recognised in the prestigious independent guide to the legal profession, Chambers & Partners, as ‘an astute and intellectually brilliant lawyer with a real passion for achieving justice for his clients’ (2021).
He has been described in The Legal 500 as an ‘impressive and tenacious’ litigator (2018) who is a ‘key member’ of the ‘professional, supportive and empathic’ personal injury team (2019). Oliver has also been noted in clinical negligence cases for being 'responsive and sensitive to [his] clients’ distress’ (2019).
He is a member of the Law Society personal injury accreditation scheme, a “senior litigator” of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) and a legal adviser to a local Citizens Advice Bureau.
His clinical negligence experience involves a wide range of areas including accident and emergency, care of the elderly, dentistry, general practice, general surgery, gynaecology, obstetrics, ophthalmology, orthopaedic and spinal surgery, nephrology, nursing and urology.
Oliver’s personal injury work includes all aspects of occupiers' and employers' liability, road traffic accidents, highway, sports injury and Animals Act cases and harassment in the workplace. The majority of his clients have suffered brain and/or serious orthopaedic and/or psychiatric injuries.
Oliver is part of the firm’s asbestos team. He is noted in the 2021 Legal 500 for specialising in mesothelioma claims.
Achievements & accreditations
- Recommended in Chambers & Partners
- Recommended in The Legal 500
- Law Society accredited personal injury solicitor
- APIL accredited senior litigator
Oliver obtained an honours degree in history from the University of Sheffield (2004) before completing the Graduate Diploma in Law (2005) and the Legal Practice Course (2006) at the College of Law, London.
He joined Thomson Snell & Passmore in 2007 and qualified as a solicitor in the clinical negligence and personal injury department in September 2009. He was made a partner in 2019.
Before joining Thomson Snell & Passmore, Oliver spent several years working as a carer for both children and adults with special needs. Having spent a year as a live-in carer for a young man with cerebral palsy, he gained valuable insight into the care, equipment and accommodation elements of high-value cases.
Mr M (a protected party by EF, his litigation friend) -v- British Telecommunications plc  EWHC 532 (QB)
Oliver succeeded in a personal injury claim against BT plc following a High Court trial before Mr Justice William Davis in February 2015. The case was brought on behalf of Mr M who, during the course of his employment with BT, suffered an electric shock and sustained severe multiple injuries when the back of his head came into contact with an overhead high voltage power line. Mr M accepted that he made an error of judgment which contributed to the accident. However, we argued that the principal cause of the accident were the errors made by his employer and a fellow employee. After a three day trial, the judge found that BT was liable for the accident subject to a reduction of one third to allow for Mr M’s contribution.
In the quantum proceedings, Oliver argued that Mr M had sustained a hypoxic brain injury and that he lacked capacity to conduct the litigation or manage his financial affairs. The defendant contended that he did not sustain a brain injury and that any ongoing effects were a psychiatric response to the accident. Accordingly, they were amenable to treatment.
In June 2017, three weeks before a quantum trial, the case settled for £1.1m, which took into account the deduction for contributory negligence, and therefore represented a gross valuation of £1.65m.
HM -v- King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust 
Mrs M suffered permanent total blindness at the age of 79 as a result of the defendant’s negligent failure to diagnose and treat temporal arteritis (giant cell arteritis) following her attendance at Queen Mary’s Hospital, Sidcup, with a classic presentation of that condition. The defendant subsequently admitted that with appropriate treatment the claimant’s eyesight would have been saved. Oliver negotiated a settlement of £760,000.
IC -v- PM 
Oliver acted for Mr C who sustained injury when the defendant driver negligently pulled into the path of his motorcycle. It was the claimant’s case that as a result of the accident he suffered a diffuse axonal traumatic brain injury of at least moderate severity, together with PTSD and major depressive disorder. He also sustained soft tissue spinal injuries and soft tissue injury to his right shoulder.
During the course of the case, amongst other aggressive acts, the defendant unilaterally withdrew funding for case management and rehabilitation, served surveillance evidence and alleged that the claimant was fundamentally dishonest. He was invited to discontinue his case and threatened with committal proceedings.
The principal difficulty of the case was the question of whether the claimant had suffered an organic brain injury or whether the defendant was correct in asserting that there was no evidence of brain damage or neurological dysfunction, that any psychiatric problems were the result of a pre-existing condition and ongoing problems were caused by the claimant’s abuse of alcohol.
Oliver refused to be cowed by the defendant’s aggressive tactics – believing the claimant and his experts and providing the defendant with detailed and cogent responses to the alleged inconsistencies in his case – and ultimately negotiated a settlement of £350,000.
PH -v- Albert E Reed and Co. Limited and Reed Paper Group Limited 
Mr H joined Albert E Reed and Co Limited as an apprentice in 1960. He worked for various companies within the Reed Group until he retired in 2008.
Between 1961 and 1970 he worked at Tovil and Bridge Paper Mills in Maidstone as an apprentice and subsequently qualified instrument mechanic. He was exposed to asbestos dust on a daily basis. He was not knowingly exposed to asbestos after 1970, but was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2015.
Shortly after his diagnosis he instructed Oliver, but at first had only vague memories of encountering asbestos. Using his experience of asbestos exposure in previous cases, Oliver spoke to Mr H about every aspect of his role as an instrument mechanic and came up with a detailed account of at least 11 sources of regular asbestos exposure during his nine years at those mills.
Within six months of his diagnosis the case settled for the sum of £275,000. That the case settled within his lifetime brought Mr H a great deal of peace of mind as he wanted to ensure that his wife would be financially secure in the future.
KW -v- Medway NHS Foundation Trust 
Oliver acted for Ms W who underwent an emergency appendicectomy at Medway Maritime Hospital. In the course of laparoscopic surgery her appendix was dropped into the abdominal cavity and open surgery was required to locate and recover it. The laparotomy resulted in multiple abdominal wall hernias - including a large incisional hernia around the umbilical region - causing discomfort and limiting physical activity. She developed an unsightly scar related to wound infection and dehiscence with overhang of fat, pulmonary embolisms and psychiatric sequelae. However, she was advised that her BMI was too high to contemplate the necessary surgical repair. Bariatric surgery was therefore recommended in the first instance.
Breach of duty was admitted in respect of the misplacement of the appendix and, in terms of causation, it was admitted that the laparotomy, incisional hernia and adhesions would have been avoided. However, it was denied that the negligence resulted in either the pulmonary embolisms or Ms W’s psychiatric injury.
The defendant released two interim damages payments and a stay was ordered to allow the claimant to undergo treatment. She underwent bariatric surgery, the incisional hernia was reduced and a temporary repair effected pending weight loss sufficient to allow formal abdominal wall reconstruction to go ahead. She also received treatment for her psychiatric injury. Oliver negotiated a settlement of £100,000.
AB -v- CD 
The case concerned Mr B who was attacked by a relative’s golden retriever dog whilst home alone. He suffered a significant laceration to his face and further puncture wounds to his hand, wrist and the back of his head. He lost a lot of blood and thought that he was going to die. Oliver was instructed and, through careful analysis, argued that the notoriously complex Animals Act 1971 imposed strict liability despite the golden retriever not belonging to a dangerous species. The defendant admitted breach but strongly contested causation (save the significant scarring). Oliver obtained reports from consultants in plastic surgery and psychiatry and the latter confirmed that the attack had caused the claimant’s PTSD, depression and the exacerbation of alcohol misuse making him currently alcohol dependent and unable to work. However, Oliver faced numerous problems in trying to prove the injuries suffered and the losses claimed but, despite the defendant’s great scepticism, negotiated an excellent settlement of £85,000.
PB, VN and RN -v- DR 
The claim resulted from a head-on collision in which Mr B and his passengers, Mr and Mrs N, suffered significant multiple internal and orthopaedic injuries when an approaching car, driven by a Mr R, veered into their path.
Oliver was initially instructed by Mr and Mrs N who informed him that Mr R had not been prosecuted having pleaded automatism after suffering a blackout at the wheel. An experienced personal injury barrister provided initial advice that the defence was likely to succeed.
Unperturbed, Oliver argued that Mr R was negligent as statements in the police report indicated that he had suffered at least three bouts of dizziness in the days before the accident. These symptoms rendered him unable to walk and clearly unfit to drive. He appeared to recognise this by refraining from driving for a couple of days. Liability was vehemently denied.
Both Mr B’s solicitors and the defendant’s passengers’ solicitors each abandoned their claims having received negative advice from counsel. However, Oliver believed the claim had merit and accepted Mr B’s instructions. The defendant’s representative invited Oliver to a meeting to discuss liability following which they insisted he would discontinue. Beforehand, Oliver obtained medical evidence and valued the claims in order that quantum could be considered at the meeting.
At the meeting, Oliver successfully negotiated settlements of £100,000 for Mr B, £60,000 for Mr N and £22,500 for Mrs N plus costs which reflected the significant litigation risk but still 60% of the full value.