The full content of Annals is available to subscribers

Subscribe/Learn More  >
Medicine and Public Policy |

Untangling Causation Issues in Law and Medicine: Hazardous Substance Litigation

[+] Article, Author, and Disclosure Information

▸Requests for reprints should be addressed to Troyen A. Brennan, M.D.; Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, 75 Francis Street, Boston, MA 02115.

Boston, Massachusetts

©1987 American College of PhysiciansAmerican College of Physicians

Ann Intern Med. 1987;107(5):741-747. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-107-5-741
Text Size: A A A

Judges and juries are increasingly being asked to settle questions about disease caused by hazardous products. With the growth of litigation on toxic substances and unsafe products, more and more courts must wrestle with the complicated scientific proof of the relation between exposure and disease or injury. This proof frequently involves the use of probabilistic evidence in the form of statistical tests and epidemiologic studies. Anglo-American law relies on deductive notions of causation and is suspicious of probabilistic evidence of causation. As a result, court decisions of hazardous substance cases are sometimes based on a confused understanding of the critical causal connection. Physicians who testify in such cases, either as the treating doctor or as expert witnesses, must be aware of the court's difficulty with probabilistic evidence. In addition, physicians must state clearly the role of such evidence in the identification of a hazardous substance as the cause of a disease or injury.





Citing articles are presented as examples only. In non-demo SCM6 implementation, integration with CrossRef’s "Cited By" API will populate this tab (http://www.crossref.org/citedby.html).


Submit a Comment/Letter
Submit a Comment/Letter

Summary for Patients

Clinical Slide Sets

Terms of Use

The In the Clinic® slide sets are owned and copyrighted by the American College of Physicians (ACP). All text, graphics, trademarks, and other intellectual property incorporated into the slide sets remain the sole and exclusive property of the ACP. The slide sets may be used only by the person who downloads or purchases them and only for the purpose of presenting them during not-for-profit educational activities. Users may incorporate the entire slide set or selected individual slides into their own teaching presentations but may not alter the content of the slides in any way or remove the ACP copyright notice. Users may make print copies for use as hand-outs for the audience the user is personally addressing but may not otherwise reproduce or distribute the slides by any means or media, including but not limited to sending them as e-mail attachments, posting them on Internet or Intranet sites, publishing them in meeting proceedings, or making them available for sale or distribution in any unauthorized form, without the express written permission of the ACP. Unauthorized use of the In the Clinic slide sets will constitute copyright infringement.


Buy Now for $42.00

to gain full access to the content and tools.

Want to Subscribe?

Learn more about subscription options

Related Articles
Topic Collections
PubMed Articles
Forgot your password?
Enter your username and email address. We'll send you a reminder to the email address on record.