Avery T. “Sandy” Waterman, Jr. continues to distinguish himself as a mediation, settlement, trial, and appellate lawyer for vehicle accidents, medical malpractice, and other wrongful death and serious personal injury cases, including brain injuries. For 17 consecutive years from 2007 to 2023, Mr. Waterman has been honored in Best Lawyers in America in two separate categories – “Plaintiff Medical Malpractice” and “Plaintiff Personal Injury” – for the Southeast Virginia region, including as a “Lawyer of the Year” 5 times in the past 9 years. Also, for 14 consecutive years from 2009 to 2022, he has been named to Virginia Super Lawyers. Additionally, for 13 consecutive years from 2010 to 2022, he has been recognized in the National Trial Lawyers “Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Virginia” and in the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum. Further, at various times he has been named in America’s Top 100 Attorneys “Lifetime Achievement Award,” America’s Top 100 High Stakes Litigators, Hampton Roads Magazine “Top Attorneys” in Hampton Roads, Virginia Business’ Legal Elite, and Lawdragon’s “500 Top Plaintiff Lawyers”.
Mr. Waterman has been enjoying substantial successes throughout Hampton Roads and elsewhere for over three decades. Almost 30 years ago, Mr. Waterman obtained a $750,000.00 federal court jury verdict in Lynchburg for a tractor-trailer truck victim, one of the then highest in that locality. In 1998, he won a $1,250,000.00 medical malpractice jury verdict in Hampton, and notched a $1,000,000.00 dollar settlement of a Newport News product liability case with a national vehicle manufacturer. His 2004 verdict for $850,000.00 in the City of Williamsburg and James City County for a brain injury victim was the then highest there.
His record 2005 jury award of $1,680,000.00 for a patient fall in Newport News received prestigious front page coverage in Virginia Lawyers Weekly and was one of the year’s largest in Virginia. In 2006, that jury verdict was upheld by the Virginia Supreme Court in a landmark medical malpractice opinion that still stands as leading legal precedent today. See, Riverside Hospital, Inc. v. Johnson, 272 Va. 518 (2006). In 2007, he settled two class actions certified in the United States District Court for Newport News and Norfolk, one on behalf of 115 plaintiffs.
In 2008, Mr. Waterman lobbied the Virginia General Assembly in opposition to House Bill 382, which inequitably stood to deny patients access to the true facts of their healthcare by providers who commit malpractice. Also in 2008, he obtained three then record settlements collectively totaling over $2,500,000.00 for Peninsula patient fall victims. In 2009, Mr. Waterman again successfully lobbied against H.B. 382. Also, he settled a multi-party suit in state court.
His 2010 jury verdict of $6,100,000.00 for a brain injury victim in Gloucester County was by far the greatest there, one of the highest across Virginia, and subject of Virginia Lawyers Weekly front page coverage. Also in 2010, the $987,500.00 settlement that co-counsel and he obtained for a brachial plexus birth injury was then the largest known one of its kind in Virginia. In 2011, Mr. Waterman settled a medical malpractice case for $1,000,000.00.
On April 20, 2012, the Virginia Supreme Court opined in his Gloucester brain injury case that a high school Assistant Principal owed a duty of care to a student, that there was no statutory immunity for personal injury liability, that gross negligence is an exception to common law sovereign immunity, and that a reporting student’s de bene esse deposition was admissible. On December 7, 2012, a Newport News jury awarded his 88 year-old client $3,500,000.00 in another patient fall case against Riverside Hospital, Inc., wherein he introduced cutting-edge 3.0 Tesla MRI, Diffusion Tensor Imaging (“DTI”), and NeuroQuant Analysis. In 2013, Mr. Waterman settled a personal injury case for $1,400,000.00.
In 2014, Mr. Waterman was voted “Lawyer of the Year” by his legal colleagues in Best Lawyers in America for “Plaintiff Medical Malpractice” in the Southeast Virginia region. Also in 2014, he authored the amicus curiae brief of the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association in support of the plane crash wrongful death Plaintiffs, which prevailed in the Virginia Supreme Court’s leading opinion on Va. Code §8.01-401.1 “reliable authority”. See, Harman v. Honeywell International, Inc., 288 Va. 84 (2014).
In 2015, Mr. Waterman attended “Neuroanatomical Dissection: Human Brian and Spinal Cord” at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, a 3-day course featuring 12 hours of hands-on regional dissections of embalmed human cadaver neuro-material and 9 hours of lecture sessions. Also in 2015, he spoke before the Long-Term Care Section of the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association in Richmond about “Policies, Procedures, Protocols, Et Al. – Discoverability and Admissibility!” Additionally in 2015, he addressed the Greater Peninsula Women’s Bar Association with “It’s Privileged Judge: In Fact, Actually Not! (Medical Malpractice Privilege Law)”. Further in 2015, he again presented to the Etheridge Society in Charlottesville re “Policies, Procedures and Protocols; Pilot Programs; EMR Metadata; and Risk Management Materials”.
In 2016, Mr. Waterman again was voted “Lawyer of the Year” by his fellow lawyers in Best Lawyers in America for “Plaintiff Medical Malpractice” in the Southeast Virginia region, his second time in three years. In 2017, he had four of his case decisions published. Also in 2017, he attended Southern Trial Lawyers Association’s annual convention in New Orleans.
In 2018, Mr. Waterman again was voted “Lawyer of the Year” by his legal peers in Best Lawyers in America for “Plaintiff Medical Malpractice” in Southeast Virginia region. That was his third time in five years.
In 2019, Mr. Waterman left the largest Peninsula-based law firm and opened his own law firm, Waterman Law Centers, PLLC. Initially, he had two offices: Williamsburg and Newport News.
In 2020, Mr. Waterman again was voted “Lawyer of the Year” by his fellow members in Best Lawyers in America for “Plaintiff Medical Malpractice” in Southeast Virginia region. That was his fourth time in seven years being named “Lawyer of the Year”.
In 2021, Mr. Waterman settled a medical malpractice case for $2,000,000.00, one of the year’s largest personal injury settlements in all of Virginia. It was reported in Virginia Lawyer’s Weekly. Also in 2021, Waterman Law Centers achieved the coveted “Metropolitan Tier 1” ranking in the 2021 Edition of the U.S. News – Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” Rankings, and was the only Williamsburg-based law firm so recognized. Additionally in 2021, Waterman Law Centers opened a new office in Hampton, its third location.
In 2022, Mr. Waterman was named “Lawyer of the Year” for 2022 by his legal contemporaries in Best Lawyers of America for “Plaintiff Personal Injury” in Southeast Virginia region. Also in 2022, Waterman Law Centers achieved the coveted “Metropolitan Tier 1” ranking for the 2022 Edition of the U.S. News – Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” Rankings, and again was the only Williamsburg-based law firm so honored. This is the second consecutive year that Waterman Law Centers was recognized as “Metropolitan Tier 1”.
For 2023, Mr. Waterman was named “Lawyer of the Year” by his legal peers in Best Lawyers of America for “Plaintiff Medical Malpractice” in Southeast Virginia. That marks the third time in four years and sixth time in ten years that he was voted “Lawyer of the Year”. Also for 2023, Waterman Law Centers earned the coveted “Metropolitan Tier 1” ranking for the 2023 Edition of the U.S. News – Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” Rankings for the third consecutive year, and remains the only Williamsburg-based law firm so honored. Currently it is moving numerous patient fall, other malpractice, and vehicle accident cases across Hampton Roads toward trial.
Large complex litigation is Mr. Waterman’s forte. His cases have featured class and collective actions in federal court and multi-party suits in state court. His cases also feature “first impression” and other sophisticated issues, and that have resulted in scores of favorable published opinions. He has prevailed in a dozen appeals before state and federal courts.
Mr. Waterman brings to bear decades of personal injury experience, providing clients valuable perspective, skill and credibility. He also has the staying power to withstand common insurance defense delay tactics and to investigate, negotiate, litigate, mediate, try and/or appeal as may be warranted in his discretion.
Mr. Waterman is licensed to practice in Virginia, Louisiana, and the District of Columbia; and has been admitted to practice before all state and federal courts in Virginia and Louisiana, the United States Tax Court, the United States Bankruptcy Court, the Fourth and Fifth Circuit Courts of Appeal and the United States Supreme Court. He handles cases throughout Virginia and with local counsel in other states, such as Louisiana, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, and the District of Columbia.
Articles of his are published in The Journal of the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association and Virginia Lawyers Weekly: “Healthcare Policies, Procedures and Protocols: Discoverability, Abuse, Admissibility and Legislation,” 19 The Journal of VTLA 2, Spring, 2008; “Charitable Immunity: A Limited Doctrine,” 9 The Journal of VTLA 2, Spring, 1997; and “Negligent Retention: Alive and Well in Virginia,” 11 V.L.W. 253, Aug. 19, 1996.
Mr. Waterman is a member of the Williamsburg Bar Association, the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association (“VTLA”), and the American Association for Justice (formerly American Trial Lawyers Association). He also has been a member of VTLA’s Williamsburg Society and has participated in its Justice Day, Bike Helmet Safety, Road to Virginia Justice, annual convention, and other programs. Additionally, he has been a judge at the Mock Trial Competition of Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts; the Moot Court Competition of University of Virginia School of Law, Charlottesville, Virginia; and the Moot Court Competition of William and Mary School of Law, Williamsburg, Virginia. Further, he has been a continuing legal education panelist on Ethics and a speaker on Medical Malpractice, plus previously an Adjunct Professor in Paralegal Studies at Tulane University.
The University of Virginia School of Law conferred its Juris Doctorate degree on him in 1982. Mr. Waterman earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from the College of William and Mary, which he attended on scholarship. As an undergraduate, he was selected as President’s Aide; tapped for Omicron Delta Kappa and Mortar Board, the national leadership honoraries; admitted to the Omicron Delta Epsilon, the national economics society; listed in the College Register and Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges; initiated into Theta Delta Chi fraternity; and served as Chairman of the Board of Student Affairs and a Section Editor of the Colonial Echo.
He resides in Kingsmill; has four children, a son-in-law, a daughter-in-law, and two grandchildren; and has been involved in numerous school, athletic, charitable and social activities. His past-times include travel, movies, music, cycling, and working out.
“Establish justice in the courts.” Amos 5:15. “Sunlight is . . . the best of disinfectants.” U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis. “Never give in,” Sir Winston Churchill, “for without victory, there is no survival.” “The arc of the moral compass is long, but it bends toward justice.” Dr. Martin Luther King.