Non-economic loss is the opposite of economic loss. It is loss that is not easily quantifiable. It is often difficult to fully assess the value of non-economic loss because it is not ordinarily considered in money terms.
For example, the death of a loved one means you lose their love, care and companionship. While this is clearly a loss, it is difficult to quantify what it is worth to you in money value.
While there is, of course, no amount of money that can replace the loved one you have lost, it is possible to ascribe a money value to that loss for purposes of compensation. This is what is usually done for non-economic loss.
In the state of California, a cap exists on the amount you can recover for non-economic loss in medical malpractice wrongful death cases. Under the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act of 1975, you cannot recover more than $250,000 for non-economic loss.
It is important to note that you cannot sue for or recover compensation for pain and suffering, either for yourself or your loved, in a California wrongful death case. It is only permitted to sue for pain and suffering in survival actions. The heads of compensation you can recover under this non-economic loss include the following:
- The loss of moral support
- Loss of marital relations by a spouse
- The loss of love, society and companionship
- Loss of training or guidance (especially with minors)
- A parent or sibling’s emotional distress where they witness the incident that takes the life of the wrongful death victim