California DWC Changing Some E-filing Rules To Allow More Flexibility

                               Oakland, CA ( - The Division of Workers' Compensation (DWC) is changing the rules of its e-forms trial to open the electronic filing method to more participants.

As of Jan. 15, parties are no longer required to file all of their forms electronically as a condition of being in the e-forms trial. In the past, parties who joined the trial agreed not to file fillable Optical Character Resolution (OCR) paper forms in order to receive a logon and password to file directly into EAMS, the court system's electronic case management system.

This rule change means that parties have access to all of the available filing methods—electronically via the e-forms trial or JET File, or through OCR paper forms. However, parties using e-forms must still attend a training session before receiving a logon and password.

“Now parties have their choice of filing by OCR paper, JET File or e-forms, depending on the situation,” said Mark Fudem, acting associate chief judge for EAMS. “We want to give filers more flexibility and at the same time, we want to demonstrate to them that electronic filing through e-forms and JET File is the preferred method—and it is easier and more efficient than ever. Electronic filers are happier with EAMS because they know their documents will get filed on time.”

While the rule change means that parties have their choice of filing by paper (OCR forms) or electronic data (e-forms or JET File) in any situation, they will not be able to file duplicates of the exact same form. In other words, if a party decides to file on OCR form of the declaration of readiness to proceed (DOR), and then a day later decides that e-forms will get a faster court date, they can't refile a DOR e-form for the same case.

Current e-form trial participants may be eligible for an additional logon and password if their filing volume is high. A new e-mail address has been established to assist in e-filing – it is Applications for high volume filing and any other e-mails should be directed to this e-mail address.

The E-form Reference Guide and Instructional Manual has also been extensively revised and is posted on the EAMS website.

Here are the three choices filers have, and the rules for each:

  • Filing electronically through JET File. The easiest e-filing method can be utilized three ways: by using approved software, by using the services of a third-party filer, or by building a transmission method. Does not allow filers to see documents in the electronic case file.
  • Filing electronically through the e-forms trial. Requires a logon and password and a training session. Allows participants in a case to see documents in the electronic case file.
  • Filing on paper using OCR forms. Forms can be filled out from DWC Web site, printed and submitted by mail or at one of the division's 24 district offices. Allowed for more flexibility, but JET File and e-forms are the preferred methods of filing because they bypass the paper queues for scanning that can delay the forms getting into EAMS.
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