Sarah Nelson, P.C., Trial Lawyer

Firm Overview

Protecting the rights of the injured is what I do, and it's all I do. Unlike many lawyers who dabble in business law, family law, criminal law as well as personal injury law, I do one thing, I know one thing, and I know it well. After years as an in-house lawyer for the insurance companies, I know what buttons to push to maximize your settlement and I know how to build your case for trial. Just as importantly, the insurance companies know me, and they know that if they do not make a fair offer, I will take your case to trial and there is a good chance that I will land a large jury verdict.

I'm a unique Portland personal injury lawyer.

I'm an injury lawyer and that's all I do.

Some Portland accident injury attorneys are afraid of the courtroom. I'm not. I've tried more cases than most and I love building and telling my clients' stories. I've seen all types of injuries from simple whiplash or soft tissue injuries, all the way to neck, back and spine injuries, traumatic brain injury, even wrongful death. Not only do I know injuries, but I know the accidents that cause them. I help clients in virtually any type of injury producing accident claim, including:

• Car accident
• Bicycle Accident
• Pedestrian accident / Crosswalk accident
• Motorcycle Accident
• Trucking Accident
• Shipping and Maritime Injuries
• Elder Abuse
• Defective Product
• Premises Liability / Injuries in Retail Stores / Recreational Injuries
• Animal Attacks and Dog Bite Injuries

Some injury lawyers think it's all about them and push clients to trial when a settlement is a better solution. I don't. From day one, my goal is to get you top dollar for your injury case with as little intrusion into your daily life as possible. If I get the right offer, I will get your injury claim resolved and send you off to get back to the business of being you.

Some injury lawyers view their clients as a number. I don't. My Oregon injury clients are people, people with families, careers and things they would rather be doing than dealing with recovering from an injury they didn't cause. They come to me to ease that burden. They come to me to handle the case for them, so they can go back to spending time with their families. This is a responsibility that I think all lawyers should take seriously. It is the highest honor to be entrusted with such an important responsibility and I try and remember that every day.

Example cases

I have represented virtually every type of accident victim, and I always strive to maximize my clients' recovery with minimal intrusion into their daily lives.


Main Office
111 SW Fifth
Suite 1740
Portland  OR  97204
  • (503) 417-4227
  • (503) 417-4250


Free Initial Consultation?
I offer free initial consultations statewide. I do same and next day home or hospital visits where appropriate.
Services Offered For Fixed Fees?
All of my cases are taken on a contingent fee basis. That means we are on the same team. I don't win unless you win. You don't pay any money unless you get money.
Hourly Rates
Not applicable for contingency fees.

Office Information

Office Hours
Monday through Friday
9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Available for free consultations after hours and on weekends.
Emergency After Hours

How did your firm decide on the primary area of practice(s)?

The injured among us are society's most vulnerable. Nobody needs representation worse and nobody deserves it more. Every single injury case is my most important case. I mean that and I live that. I'm an injury lawyer. That's what I do. And, that's all I do.

What is your firm's point of view regarding clients educating themselves on legal issues?

"Understanding the System: Seeking Fair Recovery Does Not Mean You're Lawsuit Happy"

My best clients are the ones that want to involve themselves in the process and come to understand the system. While my goal is to get you maximum recovery with the minimum intrusion into your daily life, an involved and educated client is a good client. I will work with my client at whatever level of involvement they are comfortable with or able to put forward.

Even my most well-educated Oregon injury clients oftentimes don't understand how the system works. From Portland to Seaside, Salem to Bend, understanding the system is part of the education process for all of my clients. Typically, a few days or weeks after an accident, an injury victim will start getting calls from an insurance adjustor. That insurance adjustor will say the victim doesn't need a lawyer—that the insurance company just wants to make them a fair offer so they can move on with their lives. Unfortunately, that "offer" is almost always a fraction of what that injury victim is entitled to. Insurance companies make money by minimizing the amount they pay out on accident or injury claims. It really is that simple.

Some of my best clients tell me when they walk in, "I'm not the lawsuit type." Most people aren't. But that does not mean that you shouldn't seek just compensation for injuries that you suffered that were caused by someone else. Most people spend years and years paying insurance premiums before making a claim or having one made on their policy. In the typical two car accident both the at-fault driver and the injured party have paid thousands and thousands into a system designed to deal with that very situation. That is what the money is there for. If you don't collect the insurance money for your injuries, will the insurance company send you back the thousands of dollars in insurance premium you've been paying for years? Of course not. Recovering for your injuries is how the system is supposed to work.

I offer a variety of tools to my clients who want to educate themselves. The first thing you should do if you've been injured in an accident is get medical attention. Start healing yourself. Do not give any statements to the insurance company until you've had a chance to consult with a lawyer. Find a personal injury lawyer that gives free consultations. Make sure they're meaningful free consultations.

I offer personal injury articles and a list of important injury-related statutes on my website. I also maintain a daily law blog aimed at educating those who have been injured in accidents—car accidents, pedestrian accident, bicycle accidents, and any other type of accident.

Is your firm willing to review documents prepared by clients?

I cannot promise any particular results to my clients, but I can promise you will not find another Portland car accident lawyer or personal injury lawyer who works harder to make sure your case is prepared for maximum recovery. I can promise you a dedicated attorney who will listen to your case, build your story and give you the straight scoop on the strengths and weaknesses of your claim. When it is time to settle, I will tell you. When it is time to press on for trial, I will prepare you for battle. I will never sell out your case for pennies on the dollar.

This means that, of course, I review every relevant document and I know how it fits into your case. As part of case preparation, I also review documents gathered from other parties through my investigation.

Is your firm willing to coach clients who want to represent themselves?

You can always represent yourself, and I'm absolutely willing to coach and help people along the way. But, there are many good reasons why you might not want to go it alone. An experienced Portland car accident and personal injury attorney can evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your case based on the hundreds of similar cases they have seen. I know how juries react to certain facts and I know how to present your case to the insurance adjustor before trial to maximize your pretrial settlement. I have a frame of reference that most clients who've only made one or two insurance claims (or sometimes none) might not have.

When I say I offer free consultations, I mean it. And I don't make you promise to hire me before I give you my best educated opinion on your case. If I think your case is one that you can handle on your own, I will tell you. Not all lawyers can say that.

Sarah Nelson

Prior to starting my own practice, I strove to gain as much in-court trial experience as possible. In doing so, you not only sharpen your skills and learn your way around the court room, but if you're good, you earn yourself a reputation as a tenacious advocate. Prior to opening Sarah Nelson, P.C., I took over 100 cases to trial or arbitration as both a Yamhill County Assistant District Attorney and in-house trial counsel for one of the nation's largest insurance companies.

I took a very deliberate path to where I am today, focusing on honing my trial skills, learning the ins and outs of the profession from the inside out—as a former Yamhill County prosecutor and then an insurance company lawyer. It was all aimed at getting where I am today, in a place where I can help my fellow Oregonians recover for injuries caused by others.

My strengths are my client focus and my experience. I get to know my clients so I can tell their story. I've been in the courtroom or in front of insurance adjustors enough times that I know what points should be emphasized. I don't practice criminal law or family law or business law. I am an injury lawyer and I know how to build an injury case.

My style is a mixture of preparation and professionalism. I prepare as hard as any lawyer in this state, because I've always believed that success in anything is directly correlated to preparation.

I'm not the injury lawyer you might see on television or a billboard. I'm a professional. Juries respect that, judges respect that and insurance companies respect that. Professionalism and class, in the long run, translates into more effective representation of my clients and better outcomes.

Personal interests:

I spend as much time as I can with my family on the Oregon Coast or on Mount Hood. I also take my daughter to see her grandparents in Central Oregon several times a year. I love this state and I never get tired of exploring it.

  • Bar Number: 012328
    Oregon , 2001
  • University of Oregon
    Juris Doctorate , 2000
    Eugene, OR

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