DiBartolomeo Law Offices - December 2018

Makin’ It Better NEWSLETTER

December 2018

Oregon Workers’ Compensation | Personal Injury | Social Security Disability

1139 Exchange St., Astoria, OR 97103 • 503-325-8600 • JoeDiBartolomeo.com


Through Good Deeds and Kindness

The holiday season is a time of festive joy and an opportunity to create lasting memories with the people closest to you. Inevitably, that includes the folks you work with every day. Only the “Grinchiest” of business owners keep every semblance of the holiday season from entering the office. Spreading a little cheer and creating a festive environment can help boost morale and end the calendar year on a high — but only when you go about it the right way. Unlike traditions held among your family and closest friends, there are some rules to follow for celebrating the most wonderful time of the year at work. It’s important to make sure that you don’t create distractions or allow things to get too rowdy at the office. Striking the right balance can be delicate, but it’s much easier if you remember the following suggestions. Celebrate Inclusively It is perfectly acceptable to put up a tree, string lights, and adorn your office with Christmas- themed decorations. Heck, you can even invite Santa to stop by if you like. That being said, the holidays should be a time of inclusion and celebration, not a time of leaving people out. If you have members of your team who celebrate holidays other than Christmas at this time of year — such as Ramadan, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa — be sure to include some nods to their personal and cultural traditions. And it’s just as crucial to ensure that you don’t force anyone to participate in activities that could make them feel uncomfortable. The workplace is not an ideal setting for, say, Nativity reenactments. Focus on aspects of the holiday

season that resonate with everyone, and you’ll avoid awkward situations and unneeded controversy. Give Meaningfully Sorry to say it, but nobody on your team is going to remember the cookie-cutter, generically messaged cards you printed off en masse. There’s no use in giving meaningless gifts to employees or colleagues out of a sense of obligation. Put some thought into it, and your staff will be thankful. If you have a very small team, you can probably come up with something personalized for each employee. Gift-giving at the office shouldn’t be required, but it shouldn’t be forbidden, either. Again, the key is to create an atmosphere where people can participate in what they want to and opt out of what they don’t. A powerful way to put the spirit of giving to good use is to partner with local charities to provide presents to children in your area who are underprivileged. There are countless organizations that do this sort of work, and it’s a way for your company to give back to the community. That’s a type of shopping even Scrooge could get on board with. Decorate Tastefully It’s cute when a kindergarten classroom features a hodgepodge of amateur holiday decorations, but it’s less charming at a place of business. You have to create rules to keep decorations to a level below outrageous, especially if you have customers visit your office. In general, it’s a good idea to mark

which spaces can and can’t be decorated and set some boundaries in terms of what’s acceptable. You also need to monitor how much time decorating takes away from work. If teams want to make paper stockings at their weekly meetings, you should allow it. However, if somebody wants to spend multiple hours to really get in the spirit — time that could be spent on other tasks — you can’t feel bad about asking them to clock out for it. Decorating may be within the purview of the role of office manager, but it’s certainly not what you’re paying salespeople to do. Gratitude is one of the core values of the holidays, making it the perfect time to express your appreciation to your staff. You should give props and share kind words year-round, but upping your efforts during the holidays will have a huge impact. For some businesses, the holiday season is the busiest time of the year. For others, it’s the slowest. Wherever you fall on the spectrum, odds are you have employees who are stretched thin and expend extra efforts. Maybe they’re covering for others on vacation. Perhaps they’re juggling work and creating a memorable season for their kids. Acknowledging their presence and thanking them for all the work they’ve done this year is bound to put a smile on their faces. –Joe Di Bartolomeo | 1 Thank People Relentlessly

The Di Bartolomeo Law Office, P.C. 1139 Exchange Street | Astoria, Oregon | 503-325-8600 | www.JoeDiBartolomeo.com

4 WINTER ILLNESSES YOU’D RATHER AVOID Know What to Look For Before They Attack


Achoo! That’s the last noise you want to hear this winter. Cold weather brings a slew of sicknesses, so be vigilant to treat these common illnesses, or better yet, avoid them altogether.

The flu is known for causing high fever, muscle aches and pains, nausea, and other symptoms similar to a cold. Often, the fever will last for around five days, but it can be shortened with the aid of antiviral medications. However, these medications are recommended only for children who face serious complications or hospitalization from the flu. If you want to avoid catching this, your best bet is to receive the annual flu vaccine. A sore throat, headache, stomach ache, vomiting, and high fever are signs of strep. This infection is treated with antibiotics and should be addressed soon after the first symptoms appear to prevent further complications. Children with strep throat should stay away from school and other activities until they’ve been on antibiotics for 24 hours. Everyone knows that getting sick is no fun and is best avoided at all costs. However, it happens to everyone eventually. Catching a virus or infection in its early stages can help you shake the sickness much faster. Strep Throat

The Common Cold

Although there is no cure, a cold is easier to treat than other illness. If you or a loved one has a runny nose, low-grade fever, headache, cough, nasal congestion, or sore throat, the common cold has most likely taken hold. With the help of rest and perhaps some cold medicine, like cough drops and decongestants, the cold will come and go in about a week.


Bronchiolitis appears most commonly in children less than a year old and is caused by other viruses. Of the many symptoms — nasal congestion, low-grade fevers, and coughing — wheezing is the one you should be most concerned about. If your child is having difficulty breathing and is dehydrated, they may have caught a more serious strain of the virus. Most children will recover with at-home rest, but some may need to be hospitalized for more severe symptoms.

And Happy Holidays!

As the holidays draw near, all of us at the DiBartolomeo Law Office would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to you, our readers. We have had the honor of representing many of you and your loved ones over the years. We would be remiss if we let this season of joy and reflection pass without thanking you once again. This is about more than just saying, “Thank you for your business.” Yes, by letting us represent you, you’ve helped us keep the lights on here at the firm and our families clothed and fed, and we will always appreciate that. But when it comes to practicing law — particularly the kind of cases we take on — choosing us to represent you says something profound.

Specializing in workers’ compensation and personal injury, we’re no strangers to truly desperate situations. That you would come to us in your time of need and trust us to be your legal voice in such a turbulent time is humbling beyond words. As the new year approaches, our firm will strive to continue to be worthy of this hard-won confidence. We will never take your trust for granted. Choosing to represent the interests of the injured and disabled means never resting on your laurels, no matter which holiday it is. We know people in these situations can feel powerless when dealing with insurance companies and the complexities of our legal system. Being your voice in the legal arena

and helping you get back to what truly matters in your life is what brings us into the office every day. From all of us here at the firm, we hope you have a peaceful and joyous end of the year with your family and friends. It’s these moments of love and levity that make what we do worthwhile. Thank you so much for bringing our firm into your life.

Happy holidays,

–The DiBartolomeo Law Team

The Di Bartolomeo Law Office, P.C. 1139 Exchange Street | Astoria, Oregon | 503-325-8600 | www.JoeDiBartolomeo.com

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An MRI, which stands for “magnetic resonance imaging,” creates an image of the body’s internal structures through magnetic waves. MRI machines are getting better all the time, and the quality of the images is impressive. We have conferred with doctors who can show us a three- dimensional image of a neck, including all the ligaments, disks, and other soft tissues, and move the image around on a computer screen to see the anatomy from all angles. Remember that the MRI is a diagnostic tool that helps your doctors investigate the nature and extent of your injury. Some physicians will take a “wait and see” approach before requesting an MRI. This is because some symptoms will diminish after an injury event, and there is no need to get an MRI immediately. In other cases, an emergency room doctor may order an MRI right away because of serious injuries or findings. So how does this affect an injury or workers’ compensation claim?

In Oregon workers’ compensation claims, MRIs can be critical because disputes often center on what kind of injury a worker suffered on the job and whether that injury is due to the work injury event. This is important because workers’ compensation insurers only provide benefits for the actual medical condition the on-the-job injury caused. This is called the “accepted condition.” In an auto collision case, an MRI will usually address one or two issues. The first issue is whether the auto collision caused the injury or worsened something that was already present. MRIs also help lawyers prove whether an injury is permanent. For example, if someone suffers a significant disk herniation, they may need to have the disk removed and the two neck bones fused together. The surgeon removes a joint from your neck and fuses two bones together. This surgery permanently restricts your neck motion and makes the adjacent joints MRI’s and Injury Claims

work overtime to hold up your head. Those joints are now at increased risk for development of wear-and-tear damage, which we call arthritis or degenerative disk disease.


If you have an injury claim in Washington or Oregon, or if you were injured on the job in Oregon, contact us with questions. We have learned a lot from doctors over the years and help people facing these concerns all the time.


• 2 pounds fresh chestnuts, unpeeled • 2–3 sprigs rosemary • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, or more to taste • Pinch of freshly ground nutmeg • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Inspired by Bon Appétit


1. Heat oven to 450 F. 2. Place a large sheet of foil on a rimmed baking sheet. 3. On a large, flat workspace, place chestnuts flat side down. Using a sharp knife, carve an X on the rounded side of each chestnut. 4. In a large bowl of hot water, soak chestnuts for 1 minute. 5. Pat dry and transfer to a medium bowl. Add rosemary, butter, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Toss to coat and transfer to baking sheet. Arrange in a single layer. Gather the edges of the foil together, leaving an opening at the top.

6. Roast until peels curl up, about 30–45 minutes. 7. Transfer to a platter and serve while hot or warm.

The Di Bartolomeo Law Office, P.C. 1139 Exchange Street | Astoria, Oregon | 503-325-8600 | www.JoeDiBartolomeo.com

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503-325-8600 JoeDiBartolomeo.com


1139 Exchange St. Astoria, OR 97103

What’s Inside

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Holiday Spirit at the Office

What Do My Symptoms Mean?

A Holiday Message From Our Firm to You!


What Is an MRI?

Buttery Roasted Chestnuts


The Best Ways to Use Leftover Candy


Sometimes we get a little too much of the sweet stuff. Between Halloween and New Year’s Day, candy is everywhere. It’s at home, at work, and on store shelves. Then, as the year comes to an end, many people start thinking about eating right and losing weight. When those are your New Year’s resolutions, you have to do something about all the leftover candy so it’s not around come Jan. 1.

hands to reward students (or themselves) with treats throughout the rest of the school year. Bake with it. Whether you have an excess of candy corn or candy bars, you can bake with your sweet leftovers. The next time you make chocolate chip cookies, swap out the chocolate chips for candy corn. Or the next time you make brownies, chop up leftover candy bars and add them to the batter. From peanut butter cups to mint patties, there are so many different types

of candies that can take traditional baked goods to the next level.

Store it. Although not great for you, candy is fine to eat in moderation. A good way to moderate your holiday treat intake is to store your leftover sweets in the freezer. That way, you can pull a little from your supply each month to make sure you aren’t overdoing it. That said, be sure to check the expiration dates on all candy you save.

Here are a few ways to get rid of your leftover candy ASAP.

Donate it. While you may have an abundance of sweets, not everyone does. Consider donating wrapped and packaged candy to your local food bank or other nonprofits, including local homeless or women’s shelters. You can also look into donating candy to nearby schools. Many teachers will gladly take candy off your

The Di Bartolomeo Law Office, P.C. 1139 Exchange Street | Astoria, Oregon | 503-325-8600 | www.JoeDiBartolomeo.com

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