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Workers' Compensation

California EAMS: Court Administrator Unveils Proposed Regulations for Public Comment

Yesterday the California Division of Workers' Compensation (DWC) announced proposed court administrator regulations for the Electronic Adjudication Management System (EAMS) to explain the new procedures for filing documents, serving documents, electronically signing documents, submitting evidence, and viewing EAMS case files. According to the DWC, "EAMS is a computer based system that will simplify and improve the DWC’s case management process to more efficiently resolve claims, improve the ability to schedule and manage court calendars, allow files to be shared between multiple users and transform paper files into secure electronic files, reducing the need for physical storage space at local DWC offices and the State Records Center."

Some initial observations are:

  • The proposed regulations provide that every participant in the workers' compensation system must register for a login and password as well as take an online training course. If the EAMS subscriber has a high rate of filing errors or a consistent pattern of failing to comply with the rules, the DWC may take corrective measures, including requiring the subscriber to undergo additional training.
  • A party, a lien claimant, an attorney, or other representative for a party or lien claimant may access and view only those EAMS case files in which they are a case participant. Members of the public who are not a case participant may search for a limited set of basic information regarding cases in EAMS.
  • As stated in the proposed regulations, EAMS is available for use 24 hours a day, except when the system is undergoing scheduled maintenance or is having unanticipated problems. If EAMS is out of service for more than 24 hours, a notice of suspension of operation must be posted on the DWC website, and all documents must be filed in accordance with a declaration made by the Court Administrator, who can require that all documents be filed in accordance with the paper filing provisions of these rules, among other things.
  • The proposed regulations appear to take into account human failure by both EAMS subscribers and DWC personnel in misfiling or misdirecting documents into EAMS. For example, if a document is unreadable due to a technical problem with the document, the attorney can file a Petition to Substitute, which, if granted, would allow the attorney to replace the document.

In the coming days and weeks, as we begin to dissect the proposed regulations, we'll have more questions and comments about them and about EAMS in general. Expert commentary on EAMS will be posted soon to www.lexis.com and excerpted here on the LexisNexis Insurance Law Center. Stay tuned!

The DWC forum is located at http://www.dir.ca.gov/WCJudicial.htm. Click on "current forums" at the top of the page. The public comment period for the proposed regulations runs through November 21, 2007.

Note: The set of regulations that fall under the jurisdiction of the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB) will be posted on the WCAB Forum website in the near future.

For more information, see my earlier blog California EAMS: Talking 'Bout a Revolution at http://law.lexisnexis.com/blogs/Insurance/California-Division-of-Workers-Compensation-EAMS-Talking-Bout-a-Revolution