A few years ago, a batch of Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board mail was found in a dumpster away from the court. Sorta circular filed, so to speak.
I remember when I was a newbie workers’ comp attorney practicing at the Oakland district office. The local board at the time was having severe clerical problems. Somewhere I still have a few polaroid shots of the mountains of unmatched mail that sat there at the time.
Recently I was reviewing a file at the WCAB. Bradded into the file was about a quarter-inch thick grouping of medical records pertaining to eight other claimants.
This isn’t to impugn the WCAB’s clerical staff, many of whom toil day after day to keep up with an endless deluge of paper from insurers, claimants and attorneys.
What’s exciting is that we’re on the verge of a new day. The WCAB is jumping into the digital age. Parties will have the option of going paperless. Courtrooms fit for the digital age are being designed.
No more comp treasures for California dumpster divers.
If there’s a major natural disaster at a district office, the WCAB will still maintain a file since the system will store data statewide.
Most attorneys will be bringing a laptop to court instead of a paper file.
Perhaps we’ll see videoconferencing in a few years. Sub rosa investigation films taken of clients may be uploaded onto the system a la Youtube (note: my understanding is that it’s still unclear how videos and films will be integrated into the EAMS data base). Optical character recognition software may help judges and lawyers sharpen the focus on the issues at hand.
Some of this is down the road. But some of it is almost here now.
It’s called EAMS, the Electronic Adjudication Management System. Last week, the Division of Workers’ Compensation posted online proposed regulations regarding EAMS. If you’re a system “stakeholder” who will be involved in a case after mid-2008 (the target date for rollout of the system), you may want to take a look at the regs. Here they are:
http://www.dir.ca.gov/wcab/ForumDocs/EA … _Board.pdf
Since the EAMS system is still being developed, public input is important. For the next several weeks, there is an online forum to receive comments:
http://www.dir.ca.gov/WCAB/WCABForum/3. … p;RegID=10
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Category: Understanding the CA WC system