Richard  Shapiro

Shapiro & Appleton
Shapiro & Appleton
1294 Diamond Springs Rd
Virginia BeachVA 23455
(757) 460-7776

Rick has practiced personal injury law for over two decades in Virginia, North Carolina, and throughout the Southeastern United States. He is a Board Certified Civil Trial Advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocacy (ABA Accredited) and has litigated injury cases throughout the eastern United States, including wrongful death, trucking, faulty products, railroad and medical negligence claims.

He has written and lectured on evidence law to the AAJ, VTLA, Georgia TLA, as well as to Virginia lawyers. Rick was elected chair of the Railroad Law section of the American Association for Justice (AAJ) twice (2013-2014 and 2005-2006) and was named President of the Railroad Accident Division of the National Trial Lawyers Association (NTLA 2013-14).

Rick is also a prolific U.S. inventor and designer of consumer wheeled products, holding 18 US patents and numerous foreign patents, and is an international award winning fiction thriller author, who wrote an Amazon #1 bestselling suspense novel. Check out an interview of Rick about his fiction thriller, Taming the Telomeres.

Professional Accolades

Was named peer reviewed 2019 “Lawyer of the Year” in railroad law by Best Lawyers (Norfolk, VA area).

Recognized "Best Lawyer" by U.S. News & World Report (since '10)

10.0 perfect rating on Avvo, a lawyer rating service

Board Certified by the National Board of Legal Specialty (ABA Accredited)

?Why Being Board Certified is So Important

Selected to the "Top 100 Trial Lawyers" of Virginia, by the National Trial Lawyers

Recognized as a Top 10 Trial Lawyer for truck accident litigation by the National Trial Lawyers' Trucking Association

"AV" Preeminent rating from Martindale-Hubbell, one of the most prominent and respected lawyer rating organizations in the world.

Recognized as a "Client Champion" by Martindale-Hubbell (since 2018)

Recognized as a "Super Lawyer" by Law & Politics Magazine (since '10)

Chairman of the American Association of Justice Railroad Section (two terms)

Executive Committee Member for the Railroad Trial Lawyers Association

Selected to Who’s Who in American Law (2009)

American Inventor granted more than 18 U.S. Patents, with several licenses granted.

Author of Amazon #1 Best Selling Suspense Thriller, "Taming the Telomeres."


Richard N. Shapiro received his college degree from the University of Maryland, served as staff assistant to U.S. Congressman Whitehurst, and graduated from George Mason Law School With Distinction. Rick also served as a member of the George Mason University Law Review, 1982-1984. He had an article published in the Law Review's 1984 publication.

Presentations & Speeches

Rick has lectured nationally and locally before lawyers with the AAJ, VTLA and GTLA, for Virginia CLE on evidence law and railroad/FELA law, and published an article entitled "Using Medical Evidence to Maximize Personal Injury Case Damages, in the VA Trial Lawyers Law Letter Vol. 21, No. 1 (2009).

Invited Presenter: AAJ Seminar on Railroad Release Law (June 2009), and has been an invited speaker at several national and regional lawyer seminars.

Invited Presenter: AAJ National Lawyer's Seminar on Corporate Representative Depositions (February 2012).

Invited Presenter: "End Distracted Driving", Jamestown High School in Williamsburg, VA (January 2013).

Invited Presenter: "Focus Groups", Virginia Trial Lawyers Advocacy Seminar (October 2019).

Prominent Reported Legal Decisions

Ratliff v. Norfolk Southern Railway Co., 2009 WL 649268 (March 12, 2009) (Link to WV Supreme Court Opinion)

Payne v. CSX Transportation, Inc., No. 2-231-07, (Dec. 27, 2013) (Link to June 2015 TN Supreme Court Opinion)

Bilenky v. Ryobi Technologies, Inc.,, No. 2:13-cv-00345 (E.D. Va. June 26, 2015) (Link to Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals opinion upholding $2.5 million jury verdict)

Muhammad v. Norfolk Southern Railway Co., No. 18-1695 (4th Cir. June 4, 2019) (Link to Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals opinion reinstating a FELA lawsuit in favor of Rick's client.)


Railroad Health & Safety; a Litigator’s Guide, Co-Author, 72 Am. Jur. Trials, p.1 (West).

Using Medical Evidence to Maximize Personal Injury Case Damages, The Journal of the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association, Vol. 21, No. 1, 39-46 (2009).

Statistics Evidence in Injury Cases: Excluding It or Infusing It in Direct Exam?, The Journal of the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association, Volume 23, No. 2, 3-6 (2012) (Link to article here).

Author and Editor for three health and safety blogs on The Legal Examiner.

Top 10 Civil Justice Stories (2015 & 2016), The Legal Examiner, 2015 and 2016.

Top 10 Civil Justice Stories (2017), The Legal Examiner, Part One and Part Two.

Top 10 Civil Justice Stories (2018), The Legal Examine, Part One and Part Two.

Top 10 Civil Justice Stories (2019), The Legal Examiner, Part One and Part Two.

Preserving Survival Damages - When Your Case Morphs Into a Wrongful Death Action, The Journal of the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association, Vol. 27, No. 3, 2-5 (2019) (Link to article here).

Bar Admissions


North Carolina

West Virginia

Washington, D.C.

Has litigated cases throughout the eastern U.S. with co-counsel under pro hac vice admission.

Court Admissions

U.S. Supreme Court

4th Circuit Court of Appeals

Numerous Federal courts


Rick regularly publishes articles on injury law topics for the Legal Examiner.

Rick is one of the only plaintiff's personal injury lawyers in the United States who is an attorney-entrepreneur and USA inventor, holding over 18 US patents on folding wagons/products, and various international patents, and Shapiro has successfully licensed one of his "folding wheel" inventions to Radio Flyer wagons.

Rick authored an Amazon #1 Best Selling suspense thriller which won the Gold Award in the 2015 Readers' Favorite Int'l. Book Award Contest for fiction thriller "Taming the Telomeres" published by Challedon Publishing (Amazon) and also the non-fiction book "Faceplant: Chronicles of Facebook's True Tales & Epic Fails" (Richard N. Shapiro) was published by Outskirts Press and is distributed by Amazon and by Barnes & Nobles (search: "Faceplant book").

Member of the Norfolk-Portsmouth and Virginia Beach Bar Associations; Virginia State Bar; Virginia Trial Lawyers Association; North Carolina Bar Assocation, American Association For Justice (Chairman, Railroad Section, 2005-2006); American Trial Lawyers Ass'n, Academy of Rail Labor Attorneys.

Rick's Practice Areas

FELA/On-the-Job Railroad Accidents, Diseases such as Mesothelioma from Asbestos Exposure

Car Accident Injuries

Wrongful Death Accidents

Trucks or Tractor Trailer Accidents

Surgical Errors, Medical/Hospital Malpractice

Head Wound/Traumatic Brain Injuries

Aviation/Mass Transit Injuries

General Personal Injury Claims

Boat Accidents

Product Recalls and Prescription Drug Side Effects

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