Di Bartolomeo Law Office - April 2020

Makin’ It Better NEWSLETTER

April 2020

Oregon Workers’ Compensation | Personal Injury | Social Security Disability

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

WE ARE HERE FOR YOU

We hope you are well. We are doing everything we can to adapt to our changing world and take care of our clients and their cases. We continue to help new and potential clients make good decisions on their personal injury, Oregon Workers’ Compensation, and Social Security Disability claims during this COVID-19 crisis. Our office is working remotely, and thanks to our wonderful IT folks, we have full and secure access to client files and can meet with new and existing clients via telephone conference. We are here for you, so if you have questions, give us a call and we can set up a time to talk. We are also investigating video conferencing capabilities. There are some great web-based programs, but to make sure client conversations remain confidential, we are moving deliberately. Stay tuned. You will not notice much of a difference when calling the office except that you will be prompted to contact Karen (extension 102), or Joe (extension 101). We receive alerts of your voice mail

and will contact you quickly to answer your questions or set up a telephone conference. Throughout this month’s issue, we provide updates on how court and administrative orders have changed our day-to-day approach to each of our practice areas. Keep in mind that things

are changing all the time. We will use our Facebook feed and blog posts to give general information about the state of affairs in the world we work in. Again, we are here for you, so let us know if we can help. Thanks, and stay safe! –Joe Di Bartolomeo

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

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THE AGE OF STRESS Helping Your Child Overcome Anxiety

It’s hard to imagine kids as anything but carefree, happy, and eager to explore the world around them. However, children experience stress just like adults do, which can severely impact their typically cheerful dispositions. Since April is National Stress Awareness Month, now is an opportune time to familiarize yourself with tools and information that can help you alleviate your child’s stress.

org, younger children may also pick up habits like twirling their hair or sucking their thumb, while older kids may start to bully others, lie, or rebel.

CAN I HELP REDUCE THEIR STRESS?

WHAT ARE THEIR STRESSORS?

According to KidsHealth.org, good nutrition, proper rest, and healthy attention are great ways to help kids manage their stress. Set time aside each day to talk and spend time with your children; talking about worries will reduce or relieve anxieties. If you know about an upcoming stressful situation, like a school exam or a health checkup, prepare your child by studying with them or talking to them about what to expect. Don’t stop here. For more tools and information regarding stress reduction in children, visit KidsHealth.org or contact your doctor.

Any number of everyday factors can lead to stress, and stress can plague anyone who feels overwhelmed. Toddlers and young children going to day care or school for the first time may experience separation anxiety due to being apart from their parents. Older kids and teenagers may feel mounting social and academic pressure. Even something as simple as overhearing loved ones arguing or seeing a sad news report can add to a child’s stress levels.

HOW DO I KNOW IF MY CHILD IS STRESSED?

When a kid is stressed, they will exhibit odd behavior and even undergo physical changes. Depending on your child’s age, watch for mood swings, changes in sleep patterns, headaches, trouble focusing, or withdrawal from the people around them. According to KidsHealth.

HOWWE ARE HELPING OUR PERSONAL INJURY CLIENTS

For cases not filed in court, things are pretty much the same. The insurance companies we have worked with have moved their adjusters to remote work. Some adjusters have explained that they have had to work around some procedures to obtain information, but for the most part, things have not changed. Many of the larger insurers already work in a virtual environment. It is too early to tell if claims negotiation behavior will change in the coming months. We shall find out. For cases filed in circuit courts, the chief justice of the supreme court recently amended her previous order. It’s nine pages and sorts out criminal, juvenile, and all other civil cases. Personal injury cases like the ones we work on are considered

“nonessential,” and no trials will be set prior to June 1, 2020. That may change. Also keep in mind that for cases already set after June, more postponements may occur because there is sure to be a backlog of cases.

This is new territory for everyone. The three branches of government in Oregon are working together to figure out who can amend what rules relating to time limits. For example, an injured person with a claim in Oregon has two years to have their case filed in court. Then, there are strict time limits in getting the claim served upon the defendant. We continue to monitor this closely and will make the changes we need to make. That said, the one thing a dire situation like this does is strip away the things that are just not important. Everyone we are working with seems to appreciate the gravity of the situation, and we see a heightened sense of cooperation, even with our most worthy adversaries.

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

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We represent claimants on Social Security Disability claims, and much of the way we work with clients has not changed, except for hearings. Most folks seek our help after an initial claim denial or denial of the first claim appeal, known as a “reconsideration request.” Our initial meeting is completion of the online appeal. That could be the first appeal, which is the request for reconsideration, or the second appeal, which is the request for hearing. We also request a copy of the claims file from the local Social Security office. We work with the Warrenton office most of the time, and they have been responsive about getting claims files mailed out on a CD. The local offices are closed to the public, and many of the folks at the local office are working from home. This has caused some delay in getting claims files, but we continue to move forward with appeals. You can still contact the local office by phone, but as this issue goes to press, the only services available relate to severe disabilities, blindness claims, claims involving terminal illness, requests for dire need payments, and dire Medicare applications. What is considered “dire” is a relative term, even during these uncertain times. Overall, we are impressed with the staff at our Warrenton Social Security office and know they are working through this the best way they know how.

The hearings office we work with most often is in Portland. Until recently, all hearings were in person, with experts more often calling in to testify. The local hearings office is not conducting in-person hearings but is offering telephone hearings. Our clients can choose to postpone their hearings, but we cannot say how long the additional wait time is for a new hearing at this point. Whether to go forward with a phone hearing is a case-by-case decision, ultimately left with the client. We have conducted a few phone hearings so far, and they have gone well except for a few early technical glitches with the phone connections. The hearings office employees are wonderful to work with, and as we move forward, they will improve their procedures without a doubt.

EASTER LAMB CAKE Inspired by AllRecipes.com

Ingredients

• 2 1/4 cups cake flour • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder • 1/2 tsp salt

• 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar • 1/2 cup butter • 1 cup milk

• 1 tsp vanilla extract • 4 egg whites

Equipment

• 1 lamb-shaped, 3D cake mold

Directions

1. Heat oven to 375 F. Coat lamb cake mold with vegetable oil and wipe clean after a few minutes. Then grease again and flour cake mold. 2. In a bowl, sift cake flour, then sift flour again with baking powder and salt. Set aside. 3. In a large bowl, beat sugar and butter together to form a batter. 4. Add flour mixture and milk to the batter alternately. 5. Stir batter until smooth and add vanilla extract. 6. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. 7. Fold 1/3 of egg whites into batter mixture, then fold in the remaining whites. 8. Fill cake mold with batter and avoid air pockets. Place the lid on the cake mold, secure it tightly, and place it on a cookie sheet. Bake for 1 hour. 9. Let cake cool completely before decorating with frosting, candy, and edible Easter grass.

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

PRST STD US POSTAGE PAID BOISE, ID PERMIT 411

1139 Exchange St. Astoria, OR 97103

What’s Inside

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We Are Here for You

Helping Your Child Manage Stress

Helping Our Personal Injury Clients

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Helping Our Social Security Disability Clients

Easter Lamb Cake

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Navigating the Workers’ Comp Maze

HOWWE CONTINUE TO NAVIGATE THE WORKERS’ COMPENSATION MAZE

Our work with injured workers varies from case to case. Some clients have an accepted claim, but we will seek to include the more serious conditions caused by the work injury or those that are not part of the claim. Other times, the claim is properly accepted, but the permanent disability benefit was not properly calculated. Some appeals are purely “paper” oriented, without a hearing. However, we still need to contend with live hearings and mediations. The latest from the hearings office is that live telephone hearings are a go beginning April 6. The presiding administrative law judge has distributed a “how to” email to all attorneys, explaining how phone hearings will take place and what we need to do to get ready. We are not sure about how flexible the judges

will be on granting postponements, but we believe they will be flexible given these uncertain times. Mediations, which are settlement conferences, are still occurring, sometimes via video or phone conference. We have upcoming settlement conferences and hope they run smoothly. We also help injured workers file a request for reconsideration of the closure of their claim. Depending on the issue, we may seek a medical examination that the state of Oregon arranges. We recently received a notice of an examination for late April but are not sure if that examination will go forward. Many insurers are canceling their own in-person insurer medical examinations, opting instead to have their doctors review medical records to provide opinions.

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

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