It started with a pulled hamstring while sliding into second base on April 14th.  Now Mets fans are faced with the very real possibility that David Wright may miss significant time from the playing field and, worst case scenario, may never play another game of baseball in his life. 

Recently the New York slugger was sent to California for evaluation of a condition called “spinal stenosis” in his lower back.  At its basic level, spinal stenosis is the narrowing of the space in your spine.  It is most frequently a degenerative, age-related condition that is commonly caused by every day, wear-and-tear activities as opposed to specific traumatic events.  This wear-and-tear on your spine causes the formation of small bone spurs, which can intrude upon the spinal nerve roots or compress the spinal cord.  Symptoms of spinal stenosis in the lumbar spine include pain, tingling, weakness or numbness that radiates from the low back and into the buttocks and legs.  Stenosis in the cervical spine can be far more dangerous since the spinal cord extends throughout the entire cervical area of the spine while it terminates in the upper levels of the lumbar spine.  Significant cervical stenosis can result in weakness or even paralysis.

Many people, especially those over the age of 40, suffer from some degree of spinal stenosis without even knowing it.  The condition remains dormant and relatively unnoticed.  The introduction of a significant trauma such a car accident or slip-and-fall (or a hard slide into second base) can, however, exacerbate or aggravate otherwise benign spinal stenosis.  Trauma can introduce swelling or even disc herniations or bulges that further intrude upon your already narrowed spinal space and lead to the pain, numbness, and weakness associated with nerve root or spinal cord compression.

Traumatic aggravation of previously dormant conditions, such as spinal stenosis and other age-related, degenerative maladies, gives rise to a number of issues in the context of personal injury lawsuits in New Jersey.  New Jersey Courts recognize the right of injured individuals to be compensated for aggravation of pre-existing medical conditions, such as stenosis or arthritis, sustained due to the negligence of others, however the extent of that recovery often depends upon the existence of objective medical evidence of trauma.  The interplay between objective evidence of trauma and longstanding, aged related conditions, such as spinal stenosis, is an area of law that is frequently misunderstood by individuals, insurance companies, and attorneys.  Here at Weir & Associates, we have not only dealt extensively with aggravation claims but have been invited to present seminars on New Jersey law and rules applicable to aggravation claims.  We are available to discuss all aspects of personal injury claims, including those involving aggravation of pre-existing medical conditions.

For more information, please contact our Pennington, NJ office at (609) 737-9511 or weirlaw@weirattorneys.com.