Radiation Injury and the Atomic Veteran: Shifting the Burden of Proof on Factual Causation

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My Hastings Law Review article (called a "note" in the law review world because it was written by a student) discusses the thousands of American soldiers who were exposed to radiation from atmospheric nuclear explosions conducted by the United States Government. Many of these veterans are alleging this exposure has resulted in adverse health effects. The difficulty of proving such a causal relationship has frustrated most of their attempts to qualify for compensation from the Veterans Administration. In addition, the judiciary has held the United States immune from suit in these cases. This note examines the circumstances surrounding the exposure of these soldiers and the administrative and legal barriers that now face them, including the burdens of proof regarding factual causation of radiation injury. The note concludes that, because of the unreasonable nature of the government's conduct, the burden of proof should be shifted from the veterans to the government. Download a PDF copy of the note from the Hastings Law Journal archives. The note was in volume 32, issue 4 of the Hastings Law Journal, published in March of 1981.