Answers to frequently asked questions about OCR filing

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Topics covered in this FAQ include:

Filing OCR Forms
OCR cover sheet
OCR document separator sheet

Document scanning

About filing OCR Forms:

Q: Where can I find EAMS OCR forms?

A: The OCR forms are available on the forms page of the DWC website.

Q: Where does the proof of service go in the packet when filing OCR forms?

A: The answer depends on how many forms or documents you are listing on the same proof of service. If you are listing only one form with no attachments, the proof of service will go directly under the form (as though it were part of the form) without a separator sheet. If you are filing a form with accompanying documents, and listing the form and the documents on a single proof of service, the proof of service will go at the end of the packet with a document separator sheet on top of it.

Q: If I am filing multiple forms for several different cases at one district office, may I place them all in one large envelope for mailing? Since staples are not permitted, can clips be used to keep the documents together in the correct order?

A: You may place all of the documents in the same envelope, but be sure the envelope is large enough to keep documents from becoming wrinkled or folded. Paper clips and binder clips may be used to keep the documents together as long as the clips do not cause folds, wrinkles, dents, or tears to the documents.

Q: I have a deposition transcript to be filed as a trial exhibit that is well over 25 pages. How would I handle this?

A: This is not subject to the 25-page limit. If possible, it is recommended that you submit only those portions of the transcript that are relevant to your position on the issues. A doctor's or unavailable witness' transcript is typically submitted in its entirety. If you intend to use the transcript for impeachment/refreshing purposes only, do not submit it as an exhibit until you actually use it at the time of trial, and then, only those pages used for impeachment/refreshing.

Q: I've heard that forms vendors have been working with DWC to make their forms EAMS-compatible. How can I get a list of approved software forms vendors?

A: See the approved OCR forms vendor list on the DWC website. Each vendor's software has been tested only for minimum functionality and compatibility with EAMS. Each software product is different, and we recommend that you contact each vendor and select a product that best suits your individual needs.

Q: When preparing OCR forms for submission, I have noticed that they sometimes do not allow enough space for all of the information required. For example, there may be multiple carriers or multiple periods of temporary disability to be included on a C&R, but the OCR form does not allow space for multiple entries. Where do we enter the additional information?

A: If there is information that will not fit in the space provided, you may type up a separate document with the additional information and include it as an addendum. You would prepare an addendum any time you are unable to include all the necessary information in the space provided. The addendum must meet the scanning specifications outlined in the OCR handbook. Place the addendum at the end of the document. No separator sheet is needed for an addendum as it is considered part of the document.

Q: The OCR Handbook says that special characters are not to be used on OCR forms. Since we have set up the OCR forms to populate from our claims system, many of the addresses entered will contain periods, commas, and number signs. Is this permissible?

A: No. Periods, commas, and number signs are considered special characters. They cannot be included in your OCR forms. Periods may be manually entered in sections requiring a dollar amount. You may use punctuation in the text boxes and comment boxes even though periods and commas are considered special characters. The text boxes are the only places on the OCR forms where punctuation may be used. Keep in mind that you may also add an addendum to an OCR form if necessary, and addenda may include special characters.

Q: How do I prepare and file documents that require signatures, such as a C&R?

A: Click on the OCR C&R form from the DWC website, fill it out, print it using the Adobe print icon, circulate it for signatures, then mail it or hand deliver it to the district office. The order of the documents should be: Cover sheet, separator sheet, C&R and addendums, separator sheet, first supporting document, such as one AME report, separator sheet, another medical report, separator sheet, other supporting document, etc., separator sheet, proof of service.

The batch of documents will be scanned in and routed to the appropriate judge for approval.

Remember, for settlements involving unrepresented workers, where the settlement documents are being submitted by the claims adjuster, you must include a copy of the panel QME letter sent to the applicant.

Q: Can we send in documents with signatures in blue ink, or do they have to be in black ink?

A: The scanning specifications indicate only black ink on white paper may be used. For more information on specifications, please go to the handbook.

Q: Will I still be able to get a settlement approved as a walk through?

A: If you wish to walk through a settlement and there is an existing legacy file or EAMS file, bring the settlement and supporting documents to the district office with venue. If a judge previously rejected the settlement or took testimony in the case, you must go to that judge for approval. Otherwise, you may take the settlement documents to an assigned walk through judge for review and approval.

If the settlement is an opening document, it must be mailed, or hand carried to the district office for scanning by 12 noon the day prior to the walk through. Parties may return the following day between 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. or between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. and proceed to the assigned walk through judge for review and approval of the settlement.

Please see the OCR form filing handbook for further details.

Important printing note: The preferred method for most of the forms which will yield the best results from our testing of various printers from Adobe is: "Fit to Printable Area" with "Center and Autorotate" turned on and zoom factor at 96 percent. Other print options may not result in as good results.

Q: I am the defense attorney on an unassigned pro per case. I have an executed "Stipulations with Request for Award" on an OCR form that I would like to walk through next week. Would I also need to file a "Notice of Representation?"

A: No. If it is an unassigned case, the Stipulations would be the opening document. You do not need a "Notice of Representation" on opening documents.

Q: We filed a DOR on a case and did not receive notice of a hearing date. However, when searching the EAMS Website via the public search tool, we saw that the case has been set for a hearing. Why were we were not served with the notice of hearing?

A: A DOR will not get you added as a case participant. If you are not listed as a case participant, you will not receive any notices. You will need to file a "Notice of Representation" to be added as a case participant.

Q: How long does it typically take to become associated with the case and be made a participant after filing a "Notice of Representation?"

A: Please allow a minimum of 10 days for a district office clerk to go into the file and add your firm as a case participant.

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About OCR cover sheet:

Q: If I have filed case documents for a particular unit but now wish to file documents with another unit, would this be considered a new case when checking the boxes at the top of the cover sheet? For example, if I have filed an application and have an ADJ case number and now want to request a DEU rating, would this be a new case? Or would I use the existing case number preceded by DEU?

A: Even though they are assigned the same number, the ADJ and DEU product delivery cases are two separate cases. In your example, the DEU case would be a new case if no DEU documents have been previously filed with the district office. You would check the "Yes" box to indicate a new case and leave the case number field blank. EAMS would then assign the new corresponding DEU case number.

Q: If I file multiple OCR forms or documents, do I need a document cover sheet for each?

A: The OCR document cover sheet is a six-page form that allows you to file forms and documents in up to 15 cases in a specific unit for one injured worker. The cover sheet tells EAMS who is filing the forms and documents, which file they belong in, and what to do with them, such as route them to a judge for review and action. Only one cover sheet is needed for each set of forms that pertain to that injured worker. A separator sheet is filed with each document to tell EAMS where the document is to be stored in the file, so that it can be retrieved easily without searching the entire file.

Q: If there are fewer than 15 cases, is it necessary to file all six pages of the document cover sheet?

A: No. Do not file blank pages with the cover sheet.

Q: For an existing case, is it necessary to list the date of injury and all body parts on each document cover sheet that is filled out?

A: No. Check the "No" box at the top of the cover sheet indicating that the case is not new. EAMS will already contain date of injury and body part information for existing cases. If the case is new, the "Yes" box must be checked at the top of the cover sheet and the date of injury and body parts must be listed on the cover sheet as well as the application.

Q: Where can I find the list of three-digit codes for the body part drop down menus on the OCR cover sheet?

A: You can find the three-digit body part codes on the last page of the cover sheet and in the OCR forms handbook. These are the only body part codes EAMS will recognize. The body part codes contain options that allow for multiple parts. For example, code number 148 is: Face - multiple parts any combination of above parts (which refers to other face-related body part codes list above number 148 in the list). Using these combination codes allows you to list multiple parts. Additionally, code 700, which allows for multiple parts where more than five major parts are involved, can be used in the fifth position (only) of the body parts list on the cover sheet. You can provide more specific details in the comments or explanation section of the form itself. If you need to, as a last resort, you can attach an addendum to the form you are submitting and list the additional body parts and details there.

Q: There is a listing of district office codes with the document cover sheet, but I can't find a place for them on the form. Where would the code be inserted?

A: The district office code is not used on the cover sheet. It is provided as a reference for use on other forms where it is required, for example on the "Application for Adjudication."

Please note that when filing the "Application for Adjudication" the venue is determined by one of three options:

  • County of residence of employee (Labor Code section 5501.5(a)(1) or (d).)
  • County where injury occurred (Labor Code section 5501.5(a)(2) or (d).)
  • County of principal place of business of employee's attorney (Labor Code section 5501.5(a)(3).)

The district office code you type into the form must be related to one of the three options for venue selection.

Q: In the space for case number on the document cover sheet, can I just type in the numerals since the box below for unit to be filed on must be checked?

A: No. You should always enter the case number in its entirety, including the capitalized three-letter prefix. Example: ADJ1233433.

Q: Is it required that copies of the document cover sheet and separator sheets be included when serving filed documents on the other parties?

A: No. The cover sheet and separator sheets are for scanning purposes only.

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About OCR document separator sheet:

Q: On the document separator sheet, does the author's name need to match our uniform assigned name in the database (i.e. our firm name), or should it contain the name of an individual from our firm? What would we use as the document date?

A: The author field on the document separator sheet must match the uniform assigned of your firm, if your firm is the entity filling out the form that follows the separator sheet. For example, if you are an attorney filing a "Declaration of Readiness to Proceed" you would put the uniform assigned name of your firm in the author field on the separator sheet preceding your OCR DOR form. If you submit a medical report with that DOR, the author of that document is the medical provider who authored the report. You would fill in the doctor's name in the author field like this: JOHN SMITH MD. Note, there are no special characters, no periods, commas, etc. Simply type in the first name, last name and the practitioner's designation (MD, DO, PT, etc.) in all caps.

The document date is the date at the beginning of the document that shows when that document was written or produced. In the above example, on the separator sheet preceding the DOR, the date is the date you filled it out. The date on the separator sheet preceding the medical report is the date the report was authored.

Q: When submitting a deposition transcript as an exhibit, would the author on the separator sheet be our office or the court reporter's name?

A: Use the name of the person being deposed.

Q: I am submitting a Request for Dismissal of 132(a), but that title doesn't appear in the document list for ADJ cases. What do I put on the separator sheet?

A: Use ADJ-MISC-TYPED OR WRITTEN LETTER. This title will generate a task at the district office so that appropriate action will be taken on your request. If you were submitting an unlisted document that does not require action, you would use ADJ-MISC-CORRESPONDENCE-OTHER.

Q: When preparing trial exhibits, do we scan all of the exhibits together as one package, or does each exhibit need its own separator sheet?

A: The district offices may request that the proposed trial exhibits have colored paper in between exhibits. The regulations require that exhibits be submitted at the MSC and/or trial with cover sheets and separator sheets.

Q: How would I identify a trial brief on a separator sheet? I do not see it listed under any of the document types.

A: The product delivery unit would be ADJ, the document type would be legal docs, and the document title would be "points and authorities" (ADJ-LEGAL-POINTS AND AUTHORITIES).

Q: When submitting a request for a DEU rating, is a separator sheet needed for each individual document in the package?

A: A document cover sheet should be placed on top identifying the DEU as the product delivery unit. This should be followed by a separator sheet and the DEU request form, then a separator sheet and the medical report to be rated. If more than one medical report is to be rated, a separator sheet should precede each report. DEU forms contain their own proof of service so you don't need to add a separator sheet for that. You can find a sample of how to set up a DEU submission on the "Working in EAMS" page under "for OCR form filers."

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About document scanning:

Q: Does EAMS identify duplicate documents?

A: No. The system will not identify duplicate documents within a file. Therefore, it will be important for those preparing files for scanning and indexing to look for and eliminate duplicates.

Q: Will hard copies of case files or documents be destroyed after being scanned?

A: Newly submitted paper documents will be kept for 30 days after being scanned into the system.

Q: Can forms that are scanned through optical character recognition (OCR) software be printed?

A: Yes. Once OCR forms enter the system they are printable. But remember, OCR forms are paper, so they are printed prior to being scanned into EAMS.

Q: Does EAMS automatically redact sensitive information?

A: No. However, under EAMS there will be no change in the current process for handling documents filed along with a petition to seal: The petition will be routed to a judge who will make a decision and issue an order on the petition. The documents that are the subject of the petition will remain in the file unsealed until the judge has the opportunity to make a decision on the petition.

Q: What will happen if only part of the old legacy file (WCAB paper file) is scanned into EAMS and part is not scanned?

A: The old documents will remain as paper, unless or until the case goes to trial. In that case the new documents will be scanned into EAMS and only the paper documents from the legacy file that are offered as evidence will be scanned into EAMS.

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September 2022