Litigation has become a driving force for much that is being done in the field of occupational medicine. The causation discussed in this report deals primarily with tort actions in which the plaintiff must demonstrate that a defendant was the legal cause of an occupational illness. According to the author, the term causation is frequently misunderstood. Causation is a judgement call and therefore it is important to establish whose judgement is going to prevail and for what purposes. If scientific consensus is achieved regarding the causative relationship between happenings and a given event, the controversy about the legal causation will be lessened. The causation issue in occupational disease can be approached from the general or universal point of view or from the particular or clinical point of view. The population approach must show that the particular case represents a general phenomenon. While fear of liability is not the only factor, it is an important ingredient in employer decision making.
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