The Commonwealth Health Center and the Division of Public Health and Environmental Services were found liable yesterday to pay at least $133,000 in damages to a woman who was injured from a fall at CHC due to a water leak a few years ago.
Superior Court Associate Judge David A. Wiseman awarded Camacho $2,915.17 in special damages, $34,600 for past pain and suffering, $45,625 for future pain and suffering, and $50,000 for loss of enjoyment of life, for a total of $133,140.17.
In his order yesterday, Wiseman said a party is “entitled to recover damages from harm suffered as a result of negligence for past or prospective bodily harm, emotional distress, reasonable medical and other expenses, among other provisions.”
CHC, the division, and Camacho have agreed that the latter incurred $1,501.17 in medical expenses related to her fall.
Camacho initially asked for $384,895.17 in total damages, but ultimately asked for only $290,720.17 after agreeing to a 25-percent reduction due to other aggravating factors regarding her condition.
CHC and the division had argued that Camacho suffered several incidents after the fall that aggravated her condition.
One of that was an altercation between Camacho, two of her sisters, and a niece that led to a scuffle. In that incident, the women fell to the ground, one of the sisters and the niece grabbed Camacho’s hair, and her other sister stepped on her legs, hurting her back.
Wiseman said that Camacho told CHC emergency room personnel a few months after the fight that she lost consciousness for five minutes after she was dragged by her hair down a couple of steps. Camacho’s final diagnosis included back pain and anxiety.
The defendants noted a second altercation wherein Camacho was again brought to the emergency room because her husband shook her, she fell to the sidewalk in front of a hotel, and was dragged five feet, hurting her knee and head.
A third incident had Camacho being brought to the emergency room again after her husband allegedly forced a laundry basket into her hand, injuring her thumb.
The defendants asserted that Camacho is a victim of domestic violence and this is also a causal and aggravating factor in the depression she claims.
For special damages, Wiseman awarded Camacho $720 for future physical therapy plus the stipulated CHC costs of $1,501.17 as well as $694 for pain-relieving products, for a total of $2,915.17.
For past pain and suffering, Camacho requested a total of $94,200 but Wiseman awarded her only $34,600.
For future pain and suffering, Camacho demanded $182,500. Wiseman gave her $45,625.
For loss of enjoyment of life, Camacho demanded $100,000. Wiseman gave her just $50,000, determining that her complaints are partially a cause of other contributing factors in her life.
The judge declined to award court costs, saying plaintiff failed to specify what these costs are.
Attorney David Banes is counsel for Camacho. Assistant attorney general David Lochabay represented CHC and the division.