Causation and Determination in Workers’ Compensation and Toxic Tort Cases

Jon T. O’Neal, MD, MPH

Physicians with minimal knowledge of and no training in medical causation determination are often hired to be expert witnesses. The more respected (and often more expensive) medical clinician, researcher, or teacher brought on to a case, the more surprising it will be during the hearing, arbitration, or trial, when it’s revealed that the expert’s faulty causation determination was based solely on personal experience and opinion.

A recent trilogy of Supreme Court decisions on admissibility of expert testimony has helped clarify the legal aspects of medical causation determination.¹ This article will present a pragmatic overview of medical and legal causation, set a framework for understanding these recent Supreme Court decisions, and help guide selection of physicians that are most able to help lawyers, judges, and juries, make appropriate causation determinations.

To download a PDF of the full article: Causation and Determination in Workers’ Compensation and Toxic Tort Cases

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