By Nelson S. Haas, M.D.
Knowing the workers’ compensation system will prepare physicians for caring for patients who claim workplace injury or illness. This fourth in a series of articles about the workers’ compensation system covers the determination of causation. Previous articles describe the history of, Vermontstatutes and rules governing, and ethics as applied to the workers’ compensation system. Forthcoming articles will suggest improvements in the system.
Misunderstanding cause in workers’ compensation may misplace blame, condemn the innocent, deprive people of the opportunity to understand and take responsibility for their health or the health problems they create in others, and foster aversion to work. This article defines cause, describes barriers to depending on our perception to determine cause, and describes a hierarchy of medical evidence and approaches to determining cause.
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