The Fault Doctrine and Injury Control

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Abstract

An analogy is drawn between the fourteenth-century conceptualization of infectious disease and the twentieth-century conceptualization of trauma. In both cases, causality is associated with faulty human behavior which acts as a handicap to progress.

It is suggested that the practice of attributing accident causality to faulty behavior restricts the development of preventive activities in three ways: it implies that allocation of culpability is synonymous with identification of cause; it inhibits countermeasure implementation directly; and it concentrates on behavior instead of environmental hazards.

A more useful and more appropriate approach is outlined and discussed.

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