Non-economic damages are awarded in medical malpractice lawsuits for intangible losses (i.e., ones that cannot be measured by a fixed standard, like economic damages can).
Mental Distress and Suffering
A medical malpractice plaintiff may be entitled to compensation for mental suffering caused by the defendant's negligence just as he or she may be compensated for physical suffering. The fear that death will result from an injury is included in this class of damages, if the jury concludes the plaintiff truly had this fear.
Loss of the Ability to Enjoy Life’s Pleasures
The degree to which a person was or may be prevented (due to the physician's negligence) from taking part in activities which he or she enjoys is another class of damages.
Permanent Impairment or Loss of Function
The plaintiff may be considered entitled to compensation on account of permanent physical harm or loss of function. The award is determined in accordance with the nature and extent of the physical impairment or loss of function and how long one could reasonably expect the plaintiff to endure the negative consequences that arise from it.
In the cases that result in disfigurement, any awarded damages should take it and its long-term consequences into consideration. Factors that affect the amount of disfigurement damages include the probability that it will get better over time, and the degree to which it causes mental anguish and mortification.
If the injuries and losses that a plaintiff has suffered due to the defendant's medical negligence are worse than they would otherwise be due to a preexisting condition, he should still be entitled to compensation for the entirety of his injuries. This does not mean compensation for the preexisiting injury itself, but if said injury were worsened as a result of the defendant's negligence, it is considered a proper class of noneconomic damages.
Damages for Death
Damages for death are designed to compensate for the destruction of the deceased person's ability to carry on life’s activities, including the ability to earn money. It is compensated according to the capacity that he would have had, had he not died, including current and future lost wages.
Loss of Consortium
Loss of consortium damages are awarded to spouses of victims. The term consortium encompasses the things that the injured spouse provides but has been unable to, and the variety of intangible relations (affection, society, companionship, sexual relations, etc.) that exist between two people living together in marriage.