If an injured worker goes through the WC process and just gets medical covered and time away from work compensated -- does this stay "off the radar"? Does adding an attorney to the process, and eventually reaching a settlement on top of the medical/wage loss make a difference in terms of what goes on a claimant's public record?
If you do a Google search for EAMS Case Search, you will see how the general public can search for a workers' compensation claim in California. Technically, it is irrelevant to whether you have an attorney. What matters is whether an Application has been filed with the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board. If you hire an attorney, the attorney will file an Application, which then makes it possible to locate your information related to your claim. If no Application has been filed and if no settlement has been reached, then your case will not show up on the public search tool. your case will, however, show up in a Claim Index that all insurance companies have access to. So if you file a claim in the future, regardless of the line of insurance, your case now will be disclosed in the Index.
The insurance industry shares claims information with each other by way of the "index." You and I don't have access to the index only industry. It covers most insurance claims including workers comp. That is not a public record.
Your WC insurance company would have a claims file on you. That is proprietary and not open to the public although it can be obtained in subsequent litigation by issuance of a subpoena duces tecum. A subpoena is a court order to produce so it is not generally available to the public.
If there is a filing with the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board (the court system for workers comp) then limited information is available to the public through access to the EAMS system.
Virtually all claims opened by insurance companies are reported tothe ISO database, where subsequent insurance companies can quickly search online for prior claims. This database is not open to the general public, to my knowledge, however. If a case is filed with the Workers Compensation Appeals Board, whether you have an attorney or not, then you will have a public record of that filing. You can go to https://eams.dwc.ca.gov/WebEnhancement/ to see what kind of information is searchable to the general public. More information is available to entities that subscribe to EAMS as electronic filers. They can download copies of the actual documents filed in a particular case. So to answer your question, a medical covered claim with paid temporary disability, will most likely show up only in the ISO Claim index, while a claim with a settlement, that needs to be approved by a judge, will show up in the EAMS system, whether you have a lawyer or not.
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No. The fact that you filed a claim will be in the insurance database. However, in some circumstances at the end of a case you can ask the court to seal your record, which means the medical information therein is not accessible to the general public.
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