Differential Diagnosis and Scientific Causation

Published by Consumer Attorneys of California and Arkansas Trial Lawyers Association


The presenters will demonstrate how medical professionals approach the process of differential diagnosis and determination of scientific causation in a clinical setting, and how lawyers can apply knowledge of those concepts to personal injury and medical malpractice cases.

Differential diagnosis describes the stepwise process by which doctors formulate an assessment plan, perform/order diagnostic tests, initiate treatment, and/or make a diagnosis. Understanding this process is vital to proving liability in any medical malpractice case and to persuasively presenting damages evidence in any personal injury case.

Scientific causation forms the basis for medical experts to relate negligent or harmful conduct to the plaintiff’s damages. While scientific causation is similar to legal causation, it is not always the same and many medical experts will confuse the requirements for an opinion to a reasonable degree of medical probability with medical certainty. As a result, plaintiff’s attorneys need to understand the similarities and differences between scientific and legal causation to effectively utilize and direct medical experts in personal injury cases.

Bruce G. Fagel
Bruce G. Fagel, M.D., Univ. of Illinois (1972), Phi Beta Kappa. Licensed to practice medicine: Illinois, 1973; California, 1975. J.D., Whittier College (1982). Dr. Fagel is a regularly invited speaker before organizations of attorneys, physicians,...More
Kenneth M. Sigelman
Kenneth M. Sigelman, J.D., M.D. is the founder of Kenneth M. Sigelman & Associates in San Diego. He represents plaintiffs in medical malpractice, elder abuse, and catastrophic personal injury cases. Ken has obtained records-setting results in several...More

Originally Published

August 4, 2011

Program Titles and Supporting Materials

This program contains the following components:

  • Differential Diagnosis and Scientific Causation Audio
  • Differential Diagnosis and Scientific Causation Paper
  • Differential Diagnosis and Scientific Causation Video

How To Attend

Join the self-paced program from your office, home, or hotel room using a computer and high speed internet connection. You may start and stop the program at your convenience, continue where you left off, and review supporting materials as often as you like. Please note: Internet Explorer is no longer a supported browser. We recommend using Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox or Safari for best results.

Technical Requirements

You may access this course on a computer or mobile device with high speed internet (iPhones require iOS 10 or higher). Recommended browsers are Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox.


If applicable, you may obtain credit in multiple jurisdictions simultaneously for this program (see pending/approved list below). If electing credit for this program, registrants in jurisdictions not listed below will receive a Certificate of Completion that may or may not meet credit requirements in other jurisdictions. Where applicable, credit will be only awarded to a paid registrant completing all the requirements of the program as determined by the selected accreditation authority.

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