John M. Cooper

Attorney Profile

Top Rated Personal Injury Attorney in Norfolk, VA

Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers
 | 125 St Pauls Blvd, Ste 510
Norfolk, VA 23510
Phone: 757-455-0077
Fax: 757-455-8274
Selected to Super Lawyers: 2010 - 2013, 2015 - 2018
Licensed Since: 1988
Practice Areas:
  • Personal Injury - General: Plaintiff (50%),
  • Personal Injury - Medical Malpractice: Plaintiff (30%),
  • Personal Injury - Products: Plaintiff (20%)
Languages Spoken:
  • English,
  • Spanish
Attorney Profile

John M. Cooper is a veteran personal injury lawyer and a founding partner of Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers in Norfolk, Virginia. He represents people who have been injured due to the fault of another in car, truck and motorcycle accidents, premises liability cases, defective products cases, railroad worker injuries and wrongful death cases. He has worked in the personal injury field for more than 27 years.

After receiving a bachelor's degree from the University of California, Berkeley, John Cooper earned his Juris Doctor from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1988. Mr. Cooper is admitted to practice before all state courts in Virginia, North Carolina, and West Virginia. His firm has client meeting locations in Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News, Suffolk, and Exmore on the Eastern Shore of Virginia.

Mr. Cooper has secured multiple verdicts and settlements in excess of $1 million for his clients, including $3.5 million for a child who lost his father in a car accident and $5 million for a woman who sustained several injuries after her car was hit by a construction vehicle. Mr. Cooper is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum and the American Society of Legal Advocates. His track record has not gone unnoticed by his peers, as attested to by the AV-Preeminent* rating he has received from Martindale-Hubbell and his 10.0 "Superb" Avvo rating.

In 2015, Mr. Cooper was elected Governor at Large for the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association after serving many years on the Board of Governors. Mr. Cooper has also served as chair of the FELA Litigation Group of the American Association for Justice and is an active participant in the Norfolk & Portsmouth and Virginia Beach bar associations. Frequently asked to speak before groups of fellow professionals on matters relating to his practice area, he has written several articles for continuing legal education presentations and has authored numerous books on personal injury topics. 


Practice Areas
Lawyer Practice Area Pie Chart

Personal Injury - General (50%): Motor Vehicle Accidents, Personal Injury - Plaintiff, Slip and Fall, Wrongful Death, Trucking Accidents, Premises Liability - Plaintiff

Personal Injury - Medical Malpractice (30%): Medical Malpractice

Personal Injury - Products (20%): Products Liability

Focus Areas

Motor Vehicle Accidents, Personal Injury - Plaintiff, Slip and Fall, Wrongful Death, Trucking Accidents, Premises Liability - Plaintiff, Medical Malpractice, Products Liability


Selected to Super Lawyers for 8 yearsbottom-image

Super Lawyers: 2010 - 2013, 2015 - 2018

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About John Cooper

Admitted: 1988, Virginia

Professional Webpage:


  • Law clerk to the Honorable Rebecca Beach Smith (currently chief federal judge in the United States District Court, Norfolk Division), drafting memoranda, opinions, and orders in civil and criminal cases, 1988
  • Elected Governor at Large for the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association, 2015
  • Elected in 2010 and Re-elected again every year through 2015 as a District Governor from the Virginia Beach/Norfolk area to the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association’s Board of Governors
  • Chair of the Railroad Law Section of the AAJ (2008-2014)
  •  “Top 100 Trial Lawyers in VA”, 2011
  • AV Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell®
  • Member since 2011 in the Multimillion Dollar Advocates Roundtable
  • Ranked 10 of 10 (“Superb”) by AVVO, a national lawyer assessment service
  • Highest rating (AV) granted to attorneys from Martindale-Hubbell Lawyer Rating Service, meaning John has a reputation among other lawyers and judges as being highly ethical and of very high to pre-eminent legal ability
  • Designated Legal Counsel for the Transportation Communications International Union (TCIU) (railroad workers’ union)
  • Phi Beta Kappa (undergraduate academic honor society) University of California, Berkley Chapter

Special Licenses/Certifications:

  • John has represented injured persons in federal and state courts, including the Virginia Supreme Court. He has been admitted to practice in U.S. District Courts in the Eastern and Western Districts of Virginia and the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.  He has also been admitted to practice law in West Virginia and North Carolina

Bar/Professional Activity:

  • Elected Governor at Large for Virginia Trial Lawyers Association, 2015
  • Co-Chair of Litigation Support Committee, Virginia Trial Lawyers Association, 2011
  • District Governor of the Second District, Virginia Trial Lawyers Association, 2011-2015
  • West Virginia, 2002
  • North Carolina, 2001
  • Virginia, 1988
  • American Association for Justice (formerly ATLA).  Railroad Section Executive Committee member and Secretary/Treasurer of the FELA Litigation Group
  • Norfolk-Portsmouth Bar Association.  Past member of the Attorney Referral System Committee
  • Virginia Beach Bar Association
  • Virginia Trial Lawyers Association.  Membership Committee (2009).  Underinsured Motorist Coverage Law Sub-Committee (2009)

Pro bono/Community Service:

  • John Cooper was an organizer and panelist at the Virginia Beach Bar Association seminar Personal Injury Law from the Perspectives of the Court, Defendant, Plaintiff and Insurance Adjuster. The event was held on September 26, 2013 at the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art., 2013
  • Board Member Ohef Sholom Temple, Norfolk, VA 
  • University of Virginia Parents Committee 
  • Prior Tidewater Chapter president and Board member of the National Conference for Community and Justice
  • Norfolk Academy Alumni Volunteer
  • Prior Board member of the Tidewater, Virginia, Southside Jewish Community Center (JCC).
  • President of Ohef Sholom Temple Men's Club, Norfolk, VA, 2005-2007.

Scholarly Lectures/Writings:

  • John Cooper chaired four seminars in Virginia in May 2016 about effective settlement practices for the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association., chair, Effective Settlement Practices, Virginia Trial Lawyers Associaiton, 2016
  • Presenter, Advanced Auto Retreat -- Modern Marketing for the Monster Case: Captain John "Ahab" Cooper on Landing the Great Green Whale (Without Losing Your License or Leg), Virginia Trial Lawyers Association, 2015
  • Presenter, Injury Law Insights and Issues, Virginia Beach Bar Association, 2015
  • Top 10 Tips If You are Injured at a Store, Hotel or Restaurant in Virginia is a book about premises liability written by John Cooper and Bill O'Mara of Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers., Co-author, Top 10 Tips if You Are Injured at a Store, Hotel or Restaurant in Virginia, book, 2015
  • The Best Book About Virginia Trucking Accidents - John Cooper co-authored The Best Book About Virginia Trucking Accidents with his law partner Jim Hurley at Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers. The book is a user-friendly pocket guide for people who have been hurt in trucking crashes., co-author, The Best Book About Virginia Trucking Accidents, 2014
  • John Cooper presented his research on premises liability to the bar association in a presentation that earned 3 CLE credits and one ethics credit, Faculty, Injury Law Insights and Issues, Norfolk And Portsmouth Bar Association, 2014
  • Presented about personal injury law from the perspective of the court, defendant, plaintiff, and insurance adjuster, Presenter, Virginia Beach Bar Association, 2013
  • Presenter of medical records as evidence in Virginia, Presenter, Virginia State Bar Association, 2013
  • The Best Book About Virginia Car Accidents & Injuries. John Cooper co-authored The Best Book About Virginia Car Accidents & Injuries with his partner Jim Hurley of Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers. The book is a user-friendly guide to help people who have been involved in car accidents in Virginia., The Best Book About Virginia Car Accidents & Injuries, Word Association Publishers, 2013
  • Adressed issues regading litigation of the uninsured and underinsured motorist claim, Presenter, NBI, 2012
  • Raised current topics in injury litigation from the plaintiff, defense, and judge's viewpoints, Presenter, Norfolk and Portsmouth Bar Association, 2012
  • Presented at an AAJ Convetion: Hot Topics in Railroad Law, tips on avoiding the release in a railroad site inspection were outlined., Presenter, Avoiding the Release in a Railroad Site Inspection, AAJ Convention - Hot Topics in Railroad Law, 2012
  • Your Rights When You are Injured on the Railroad. John Cooper co-authored this pocket guide with his law partner Jim Hurley. The guide is a resource for railroad workers who are injured on the job., Co-author, Your Rights When You are Injured on the Railroad, Railroad, 2012
  • John Cooper's article in the Journal of the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association in 2012 outlines the number of ethical rules that come into play when lawyers handle personal injury cases in Virginia including those of advertising and solicitation. The piece is written from the perspective of the plaintiff lawyer and is geared toward a standard automobile negligence case., author, Personal Injury Ethics Made Easy, The Virginia Trial Lawyers Association Journal, 2012
  • Panelist: FELA Appellate Update, Panelist, AAJ Convention - Railroad Law Section, 2011
  • Addressed the Virginia Beach Bar Association on the topic of wrongful death and truck accident cases., Presenter, Wrongful Death and Truck Wreck Cases, Virginia Beach Bar Association, 2011
  • Addressed proper eithics with regard to car accident law, Presenter, Norfolk and Portsmouth Bar Association, 2010
  • Education Program Planner & Moderator, AAJ Railroad Law Section, American Association of Justice, 2009
  • Teacher, Handling a Personal Injury Case: Phone Call to Verdict, Virginia Beach Bar Association, 2009
  • Teacher, Handling the Auto Injury Claim, NBI, 2009
  • Presenter, FELA Cumulative Trauma Cases, AAJ Railroad Law Section, 2008
  • Teacher, How to Successfully Resolve Automobile Injury Cases, NBI, 2007
  • Teacher, Effectively Using Medical Evidence in Court, National Business Institute, 2006
  • Teacher, Motions In Limine and Jury Voir Dire in Injury Cases, Virginia Trial Lawyers Association, 2006
  • Teacher, A Primer on Federal Employers' Liability Act and Railroad Injury Cases, Virginia CLE, 2003


  • Plaintiff, a senior citizen, was a customer at a local restaurant. As she was walking through the dining area, she caught her foot on a black, rubber mat which was not flush with the floor causing her to fall to the floor. Upon impact with the ground, Plaintiff felt a pop in her right shoulder and immediately experienced pain. Plaintiff received emergency medical attention following her fall and x-rays revealed a four-part fracture of her right, proximal humerus which required surgical repair. Case settled for $375,000., 2018
  • Plaintiff was a passenger traveling on westbound Interstate 64. Defendant failed to brake when the heavy traffic stopped and rear-ended the vehicle. Plaintiff’s counsel argued that althoughnPlaintiff’s treatment was conservative, the TBI, the direct impact with the dashboard, the broken jaw, and subsequent nervedamage are all very real injuries. Case settled for $400,000, 2018
  • We represented a high school junior that  was rear ended by a business owner driving a company vehicle that failed to brake. Our client suffered extensive injuries that resulted in her missing a semester of her junior year and the chance of playing collegiate softball. The case settled in mediation 2 months before trial for 1,200,000., 2018
  • The plantiff purchased a ladder online to install in his home. Unknown to the customer, the ladder was made from chipboard. The ladder system had a catastrophic failure anddumped the victim onto a cement floor. Plantiffs injuries included: multiple vertebral fractures, multiple rib fractures, nerve damage to lower extremity, and a broken hip. The case settled for 925,000, 2017
  • Mother (83 years old) and Daughter (66 years old) were driving to get breakfast when they attempted a left turn from Route 13 in Northampton County. The Plaintiffs alleged the Defendant, while driving a personal automobile, ran a red light causing a t-bonecollision. Both Plaintiffs were knocked unconscious as a result of the crash. The case settled for 1,150,000 (Mother $525,000; Daughter $625,000)., 2017
  • The decedent was a beloved daughter and sister who was killed in a car crash as a passenger when her vehicle was rear ended by a drunk driver in Norfolk, Virginia. Resolution of the case took place shortly after the conviction of the defendant on the DUI charges and sentencing settling for $1,000,000., 2017
  • A sailor fell from an unsafe ladder in a ship. She suffered a mild traumatic brain injury, knee, neck and back injuries. Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers filed a case under maritime law and the woman was awarded $500,000., 2017
  • Pick-up truck driver was awarded a settlement of $425,000 after suffering shoulder injuries when he collided with a 19-year-old driver who made a left-turn through a solid green light in Chesapeake, Virginia., 2016
  • A man who suffered a mild traumatic brain injury when he was rear-ended by a dump truck in Virginia Beach was awarded a $350,000 settlement at mediation., 2016
  • A tow truck operator was hit by a drunk driver in Newport News and seriously injured. He was awarded $895,000 after settlement negotiations., 2016
  • A 21-year-old suffered brain damage in an accident when he was hit by a red light runner in Virginia Beach. He was awarded $815,000 at mediation., 2015
  • A highway worker was hit by a drunk driver on I-264 in Norfolk. He suffered an amputation of both legs. The worker received $2.86 million at settlement - $936,775 for a personal injury claim and $1.9 million in workers' compensation., 2015
  • A van driver was hit by the driver of a box truck in Hampton Roads and was killed. John Cooper represented the van driver's family in a wrongful death case against the trucking company and secured $1.5 million at mediation., 2014
  • John Cooper represented the family of man killed by a train driving a truck across a railroad crossing in Virginia. The wrongful death case led to a $700,000 settlement., 2014
  • John Cooper's client slipped on a hose after an employee of a fast food restaurant directed him over a landscaped area, breaking a hip and a finger. He was awarded $125,000., 2014
  • A flight stewardess was awarded $400,000 in a premises liability case after a heavy wooden treatment fell on her head at a hotel in Virginia Beach., 2014
  • John Cooper secured a $225,000 settlement in the case of a woman who suffered neck, shoulder and hip injuries at an office building in which a janitor had left the floor wet., 2013
  • A young sailor was hit by a truck on I-64 in Newport News. He suffered serious, career-threatening injuries. John Cooper represented the young man and secured a $550,000 settlement in 2013., 2013
  • A woman from Hampton, Virginia suffered multiple serious injuries when her car was hit by a construction truck in Gloucester County. Her injuries include broken ribs, a lacerated liver and spleen, a hip fracture, a fractured pelvis. Outcome - a $5 million settlement , 2012
  • The plaintiff was an Old Dominion University student in summer school in his final year of ROTC.  Another driver took a left turn, failing to yield the right of way in front of the young man’s motorcycle in Hampton, Virginia. He broke his leg and his army career was delayed. Outcome - a $150,000 settlement within a month of trial.
  • $400,000 settlement for a woman who lost her life in a Moped accident. She was a passenger on the MoPed and was hit by a car. I obtained co-counsel to assist in this Greenville, SC wrongful death claim. We reached the settlement and were able to secure damages for the victim's family.
  • A commercial truck driver in a tractor-trailer rear ended a passenger vehicle on Interstate 64 (I-64) in Norfolk, Virginia (VA). Our client, a 25-year-old man from Portsmouth, VA was trapped in the passenger vehicle and lost his life. The trucker in deposition admitted that he did not see the passenger vehicle until a few seconds before he hit the car. We also established that the story given by the truck driver to the state troopers was inaccurate. The defense argued that the driver caused the crash by going 25 mph on the highway at night without hazards on. An independent witness indicated that the car was going extremely slowly and that he was barely able to avoid hitting it himself. The big rig operator, however, violated several safety rules from the Virginia CDL Manual.  We also uncovered evidence of poorly controlled diabetes which the trucker had failed to adequately treat prior to the crash by not following doctor's orders and not taking his medication properly.  Defendant contested whether the diabetes was a cause of the crash. Outcome: Our client was a gainfully employed and responsible person who voluntarily sent child support to his five-year-old daughter. The economic losses were limited to the likely child support and health insurance benefits through age 22 for the child. This led to a $3.5 million settlement plus the cost of mediation.
  • Our client was a customer in a Maxway store in Murfreesboro, North Carolina when a metal shelf fell down striking her in the shoulder. The incident was reported to the store’s management immediately. Plaintiff alleged that the shelf was not properly secured. Outcome: $120,000.00 settlement.
  • Our client, a 43 year old female, was admitted to the hospital for a hysterectomy, but the surgeons and staff completed the procedure leaving a surgical sponge inside her body, which was not discovered for a full six months. Outcome: $425,000.00 Settlement
  • As often happens in slip and fall cases involving ice, the ice formed what is commonly called "black ice." There was no way for our client to see this danger on the walking area where she had to do her job. Amtrak failed to keep a reasonably safe place to work for this train attendant. The company failed to inspect the area, repair the leak, and/or warn about the danger of the ice that formed. Outcome: Case settled after extensive negotiation with Amtrak about what the claim was worth for approximately $150,000.00.
  • A Conductor trainee named VW was riding on the side of a railroad car rolling through the Pinners Point Yard in Portsmouth, VA. A hostler truck owned by CSX Intermodal, Inc. pulled onto the track in front of the train. The resulting collision knocked VW off of the side of the car and she hit her back and buttocks on the ballast rock. CSX Intermodal, Inc. is a separate corporate entity different from the VW's railroad employer, CSX Transportation, Inc. VW was treated for a contusion and had low back complaints since the collision date. VW treated primarily with her family doctor, who did refer her for an orthopaedic consult and an MRI. CSX Intermodal argued that there were no objective symptoms after the initial contusion healed. Outcome: A $650,000.00 jury verdict. (Note: the jury verdict was twenty times larger than what the insurer offered just before trial).
  • MACK truck with a trailer and water tank used on a farm collided on a highway with client, KC's, Toyota.  MACK truck had worn and bald tires, but claimed unexpected, sudden emergency, tread separation caused the wreck.  KC's leg was broken in two places and required surgical insertion of a metal rod, as well as a plate and screws. KC also suffered from psychological issues and depression as a result of the crash.  KC, 45, was not able to return to her old job as a worker in a distribution warehouse. Outcome: The jury returned a verdict for $650,000.00 plus interest
  • Our client was a 32-year-old optician going to pick up her daughter at the time of the accident. It had been raining and the defendant/other vehicle was a woman from North Carolina who was lost and driving on the wrong side of the road in our client’s lane. A head-on collision occurred. Our client struck her head on the windshield starring and shattering the glass. She also jammed her foot hard into the brake as she was bracing for the oncoming impact. The client was taken by ambulance to Virginia Beach General emergency Room where she was diagnosed with closed head injury and neck spasm. Outcome: The jury returned a verdict after deliberating for approximately an hour at the very end of the second day of trial. Our client and our law firm showed State Farm that if we were not treated fairly that we were ready, willing and able to take the case to court.  Awarded: $25,000.00
  • Our client was operating her car on the way to work on Interstate 264 (I-264) when she was hit from behind by a young man’s car. Our client braced herself on the steering wheel because she could tell that the car was going to hit her while she was stopped for backed up traffic. Our client had a shoulder injury which ended up being a torn rotator cuff. The initial MRI on the shoulder did not show the tear and it was not discovered until later during an arthroscopic surgery.  Outcome:  Jury Verdict $50,000.00

Representative Clients:

  • Testimonial from a client who was hurt in a car accident: "I was very happy with lawyer John Cooper and his handling my car accident case.  I applied to be John's paralegal in his personal injury law firm some time ago. When I got hurt in a car accident, I knew who I should call. The most important thing with a lawyer is that they provide good communication.  John was always ready to take the phone with me when I needed to talk.  He made me feel comfortable calling him."
  • Testimonial from client hurt in a trip and fall accident: "I want to let you know how much I appreciate your hard work on my accident case.  The overall result in terms of money was very good and I appreciate the quick way that you handled the case.  I was impressed by your professional courtesy in always returning phone calls.  I like to deal with people who are honest and who keep their word.  You are that kind of straight shooter.  You always told me exactly what to expect as the insurance claim went forward and made me feel comfortable.  When I need an attorney in northeast North Carolina I am going to call you and I recommend you to anyone else who is seriously hurt because you went the extra mile for me."
  • Testimonial from client injured in a car wreck: "I want to thank you for showing so much compassion in the handling of my automobile accident case.  I was in a lot of pain from the wreck physically and emotionally.  You went above and beyond the call of duty for an attorney.  I would certainly recommend anyone I know in Tidewater, Virginia to you for a car wreck injury case.  I appreciate all you have done to help me in handling the lawsuit and getting me through this tough time."
  • Client testimonial: "I was afraid and upset due to my injury, but my attorney, John Cooper, generously gave his time and ear to ease me through the process and he was there for me day and night. I will always be grateful to him for that. Thanks again John Cooper and staff."
  • Railroad workers on CSX, Amtrak and Norfolk Southern Railway and their families.

Other Outstanding Achievements:

  • Received "AV" Rating from Martindale-Hubbell, which means John has a reputation among other lawyers and judges as being highly ethical and of being very high, to pre-eminent, in his legal ability. "Superb" rating on Avvo, a prominent legal rating service.


  • Hit and run drivers - not only is it morally reprehensible but hit-and-run drivers are often drunk says Norfolk personal injury lawyer John Cooper. , Hit and Run Accidents, Car Accidents, 2014
  • Premises Liability - Personal injury lawyer John Cooper talks about how you can sue the owners of stores or other businesses, if you are hurt on someone else's premises., Virginia Beach Lawyer Talks About Premises Liability, 2014
  • FELA claims - John Cooper talks about how workers on the railroad are protected by the FELA legislation., Railroad Worker Accidents, Accidents On The Railroad, 2014
  • Medical malpractice - why doctors and hospitals can be responsible for serious mistakes that cause injury by Norfolk personal injury lawyer John Cooper., Surgical Malpractice, 2013
  • Traumatic Brain Injury - head and brain injuries are among the most serious dealt with by personal injury lawyers says John Cooper of Cooper Hurley., Traumatic Brain Injuries, 2013
  • Back Injuries - Virginia injury lawyer John Cooper talks about herniated discs and other back injuries., Serious Back Injuries, 2013
  • Trucking Accidents - John Cooper explains what you should do if you are injured in a trucking accident and how you can sue the trucking company., Trucking Accidents, 2013
  • Drunk drivers - John Cooper of Cooper Hurley injury Lawyers talks about the problems caused by drunk drivers on the roads of Virginia and punitive damages., Drunk Drivers, 2012
  • Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers Videos, Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers Videos


  • April's newsletter includes Cooper Hurley sponsorships and John Cooper's reelection to the board of governors of the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association., Cooper Hurley's April Newsletter

Educational Background:

  • University of Virginia, J.D., 1988
  • University of California at Berkeley, BA, 1985

Industry Groups

  • Railroad
Office Location for John M. Cooper

125 St Pauls Blvd
Ste 510
Norfolk, VA 23510

Phone: 757-455-0077

Fax: 757-455-8274


John M. Cooper:

Last Updated: 8/27/2018

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