Non English Speaking Workers Back Injury
In Pruteanu v. Electro Core, Inc., 847 S.W.2d 203 (Mo. Ct. App. 1993), the Missouri Court of Appeals affirmed the Missouri administrative authority's findings that a non-English speaking worker sufficiently attempted to notify his employer of his back injury and his need for medical treatment such that the employer was on adequate notice of the back injury. Id. at 205.
In that case, Pruteanu, the claimant, was of Romanian descent and injured his back and knee while lifting a part of a transformer onto a machine. Id. at 203.
Claimant was treated by the company doctor for the leg injury. Pruteanu maintained that he told his supervisor that he hurt his leg when the pain in his back caused him to drop the transformer part. Id.
Claimant testified that he "pointed to" his back and leg while in the company doctor's office to show where he was experiencing pain. Id.
Claimant returned to the company doctor on four other occasions for treatment of the leg injury but did not mention the back injury during those subsequent visits. Id.
Claimant missed three days of work after the accident, but returned to work after that time period despite continuing back pain because of the large family he had to support. Id.
Eventually, Pruteanu was diagnosed with a herniated disc and underwent surgery.
The majority correctly points out that this case is the appellate court's affirming an administrative decision, but the administrative authority in Preteanu gave full consideration to the language barrier.