How to Stay in Touch, and What's Happening in Our World: May 25, 2020 Update

 

We hope you are well.  We continue to do everything we can to take care of our clients and help new and potential clients make good decisions on their personal injury, Oregon Workers’ Compensation claims, and Social Security Disability claims. 

We update this page to update you on how we continue to work hard for our clients, and help new clients make good decisions.  Here is what we know today, understanding that things are changing quickly.

What We Are Doing

We continue to meet new and existing clients by telephone or video conference.  If you need to get in touch to set up a time to talk:

Call us:  503-325-8600 or 1-888-306-6910, or

Contact us through our web portal.

We continue to work remotely with all the capabilities for taking care of our clients except in person meetings.  We hope that changes soon.

Video conferencing is working its way into our day to day practice.  We completed our first deposition and mediation via video conference. 

Here is the rundown on what is happening in our practice areas:

Workers’ Compensation

In person hearings are currently being postponed.  Hearings can still occur via telephone, which is temporary, but a lot different from the normal hearing process.

Mediations are still occurring, some in person, some virtually.

The Administrative Law Judge in your case may grant postponements where appropriate.

The Oregon Workers’ Compensation Board is working hard to develop alternative videoconferencing options for live hearings.

We have conducted some meetings with videoconferencing, and they have worked well.

Social Security Disability

The local branch/field offices are closed to the public. All services are being provided by telephone. The only services available relate to severe disabilities, blindness claims, claims involving terminal illness, request for dire need payments and dire Medicare applications. 

We help new and existing clients file their appeals electronically, and that has not changed. If you have a recent denial and need help with an appeal, contact us to set up a time to meet.

Hearings at the Office of Hearings and Appeals are being done by telephone. If you do not want to conduct a telephone hearing, postponements are being granted “in the normal course.” We do not know the time frame for postponement of hearings, and so far, have conducted a few telephone hearings. Other than a few minor technical glitches, the hearings have gone well.

Personal Injury Cases

On May 15, 2020, the Chief Justice of the Oregon Supreme Court issued a new order easing up, just a bit, the restrictions on court operations. This order is tied to the Governor's Phase One re-opening orders.  The easing of restrictions applies to those courts in parts of the state that have entered Phase One only.  

For our clients with personal injury claims pending in court, no trials are currently going forward. Personal injury cases are one kind of "civil" case, and under the existing order, cases are not going to trial until after July 1, 2020.  Even then, allowing jury trials is tied to the Governor's allowance of gatherings of at least 50 people, sufficient staff to hold trial, and appropriate social distancing.  Masks, except during testimony, and "vigilance" about cleaning areas in the courtroom, are added requirements.

Although there is no official word, we expect that because of the potential backlog in criminal cases, civil cases may be pushed further out even when the courts get back to "normal." We will continue to monitor the situation.

We are able to file cases in the courts because all court filings have been electronic for some time.

Until recently, serving summons and complaints were an issue, but service processors are starting to get back to regular work getting papers served.

We have found that insurance adjusters (at least most of them) and opposing counsel have been gracious in working through these issues. We continue to move our injury cases forward, starting out with a demand for settlement when necessary. For the most part, everyone seems to know that we are all in this together.

On May 20, 2020, the Supreme Court issued another order closing the courts for three specific dates, not directly due to Covid 19 safety, but because of anticipated reductions in funding of the courts.

Video conferencing for depositions and settlement conferences is the new normal, and has proven quite effective.  We were initially concerned about privacy with some video conferencing applications, but its more an issue with mastering the privacy settings when using these tools.

We are adapting, and learning about new tools to help our clients move their claims forward.

Stay Strong!

We are here for you, especially if you need help making important decisions about your case. Please stay tuned for more updates.

Joe Di Bartolomeo
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Top-rated Personal Injury Lawyer Helping Oregon and Washington Families
1 Comments
Thanks for staying available by phone.
by Sharon Johnson March 27, 2020 at 08:19 PM
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