Georgia Leads in Innovative Orthopedic Surgery

More than 200 leading orthopedic surgeons in Georgia practice in Atlanta, including seven of the state’s top-rated hand surgeons by U.S. News and World Report. Also, Georgia orthopedic surgeons across the state specialize in innovative orthopedic procedures for hip dysplasia, sports injuries, and pediatric care for musculoskeletal trauma and congenital limb diseases.

However, orthopedic surgeries are complex and carry the risk of patient injuries that could result in permanent loss of mobility.

That’s why Georgia orthopedic surgeons need robust medical malpractice insurance.

As your only trusted broker, MEDPLI will help you find the right coverage at the best rate in Georgia.

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If you are a Georgia orthopedic surgeon in private practice, or planning to open a new practice in Georgia, use this guide prepared by independent MEDPLI insurance brokers to give you a concise overview of medical malpractice insurance. Then contact a MEDPLI insurance broker to discuss your coverage needs and get a quote.

Medical Malpractice Insurance Requirements for Georgia Orthopedic Surgeons

Georgia orthopedic surgeons are not legally required to carry medical malpractice insurance. The standard limits of liability in Georgia are $1,000,000 Each Claim / $3,000,000 Aggregate per year in coverage.

MEDPLI strongly recommends securing coverage from an A-rated carrier as the most cost-effective way to protect against devastating financial loss if you are sued for malpractice in Georgia. As an independent broker, we specialize in medical malpractice insurance for orthopedic surgeons. We can help you find the best coverage at a great price.

GA medical malpractice requirements for Ortho Surgeons

Cost of Medical Malpractice Insurance for Georgia Orthopedic Surgeons

Each insurance carrier uses its own proprietary methods of setting the cost of medical malpractice insurance for orthopedic surgeons. Carriers consider factors such as practice location, surgical specialty, and past claims history.

The following are approximate medical malpractice insurance premium rates for orthopedic surgeons across all Georgia areas:

 Specialty Approximate Claims Made Rate Approximate Tail Rate Approximate Occurrence Rate
Orthopedic $60,000 $120,000 $70,000

*Using the GA standard limits of $1,000,000 Each Claim / $3,000,000 Aggregate per year in coverage

Actual pricing will vary depending on your experience, claims history, and overall risk profile. The above estimates do not include discounts. Be sure to ask your MEDPLI insurance broker to seek all possible discounts which you might qualify for.

Types of Professional Liability Insurance for Georgia Orthopedic Surgeons

Here is an brief overview of the most common types of medical malpractice insurance for orthopedic surgeons in Georgia:

1. Claims Made Insurance

Claims-made malpractice insurance provides coverage if the policy is in effect both when the incident took place AND when the claim is filed. If a claim is filed after the end of the policy date, the claim is NOT covered. With a claims-made policy you need tail malpractice insurance, which is a separately purchased insurance policy or endorsement, to make sure you have full protection. Learn more about claims-made insurance here.  Claims-made insurance policies “step up” as they mature, so the first year rate is lower than subsequent years.  

2. Occurrence Insurance

Occurrence malpractice insurance provides coverage for incidents that occurred during the policy year, regardless of when a claim is reported to the carrier. Occurrence policies are more costly at the start of the policy, but the rate does not “step up”, and there is no need for tail coverage when the policy ends. Read more about occurrence insurance.

3. Tail Insurance

Since most malpractice insurance policies are underwritten on a claims-made basis, you will be exposed to a lawsuit if a former patient files a claim against you and you do not secure tail coverage.  When you are preparing to leave your employer, you should seek tail coverage options with an independent broker like MEDPLI.  Tail insurance covers you for a specific time period.  The new employer’s policy is not going to cover you for prior acts of a former practice, hence tail coverage is needed.  Read more about tail malpractice insurance.

Reach out to an experienced MEDPLI insurance broker who will do the work for you to find a tail policy at a great price.

Let a MEDPLI Broker Help You Choose the Best Policy for Your Practice

Every orthopedic surgeon’s situation is unique, so we recommend a conversation with a MEDPLI insurance broker to discuss the unique needs of your Georgia practice. Your MEDPLI insurance broker will explain the benefits and limitations of each type of medical malpractice insurance plan to ensure you get the right type and amount of coverage for your orthopedic surgery specialty.

GA medical insurance carriers

Get Quotes from A-rated Carriers Serving Georgia Orthopedic Surgeons

MEDPLI insurance brokers will seek quotes from medical malpractice insurance carriers rated “A” by A.M. Best for their long-term financial solvency and robust legal support of policyholders. Some of the top carriers for Georgia orthopedic surgeons include:

  • The Doctors Company

  • MedPro Group

  • Coverys Group

  • MagMutual

  • Liberty Mutual Group

  • ProAssurance

  • NORCAL Group (A Part of ProAssurance)

Why Orthopedic Surgeons Are Classified as High Risk by Medical Malpractice Insurance Companies

Medical malpractice insurance underwriters classify orthopedic surgery as a high-risk specialty because surgical errors or post-surgical complications could be devastating to the patient’s mobility, physical well-being, and quality of life. These include high-risk surgeries for total knee and hip replacement, spinal fusion and laminectomy, and procedures on the hand and foot.

Top Reasons Why Georgia Orthopedic Surgeons Are Sued

A review of malpractice claims by The Doctors Company, an “A” rated medical malpractice insurance carrier, found that the top three major orthopedic surgical injuries were related to “an aggravated or worsened preoperative condition”, including increased pain, decreased mobility, nerve damage, and postoperative pain. Other potential orthopedic errors that most often trigger malpractice litigation include:

  • Surgical site infections causing post-operative complications

  • Extensive bleeding in spinal procedures

  • Major blood vessel injury

  • Deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism post-operative

In addition, some of the most often cited allegations in Georgia orthopedic surgery medical malpractice cases include:

  • Failure to diagnose necrotizing fasciitis post-surgery

  • Surgery performed on the wrong limb

  • Using incorrect surgical tools or implants

  • Injury to the vascular system during surgery

Orthopedic surgeons can reduce their risk of a malpractice lawsuit by implementing a comprehensive risk management strategy. For tips on fine tuning your risk management strategy, check out our Orthopedic Surgeons Guide To Managing Malpractice Risk.

Georgia’s Medical Malpractice Insurance Legislation

Consulting with a MEDPLI insurance broker who understands the complexities of Georgia’s medical malpractice laws will ensure that your orthopedic surgery practice is protected with the right amount of coverage.

Georgia’s Damage Caps on Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

Georgia law does not place a limit on economic damages recoverable from a medical malpractice claim, including compensation for healthcare costs, rehabilitation, ongoing medical care, lost wages, lost earning capacity, and other economic losses.

However, Georgia law still caps non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases at $250,000. In rare cases, if the claimant can show that the medical professional “acted with egregious negligence or intentional malice”, the court has the ability to raise the non-economic damage limit.

Georgia’s Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice Claims

Generally, the amount of time a person has to file a medical malpractice lawsuit is two years. In some instances, that time can be extended:

  • If the person discovers the injury or it did not manifest itself within the two-year period, they have five years to file from the date the malpractice occurred.

  • If a person finds a foreign object left inside them, they have up to one year to file a lawsuit, regardless of how many years have gone by since the surgery.

  • If someone is mentally disabled, the two-year limit does not apply until they recover – although the five-year limit remains in effect.

  • If the injury occurred before the patient was five years old, the statute of limitations only applies once the patient turns five.

Orthopedic Surgery Medical Malpractice Outcomes in Georgia

With no cap on economic damages, and a $250,000 cap on non-economic damages, orthopedic surgeons in Georgia are more vulnerable to personal financial loss if they don’t have strong medical malpractice coverage.

The total medical malpractice payout in Georgia was $133,313,250 in 2022.

The following examples of Georgia medical malpractice lawsuits found in favor of the plaintiff, or paid as a settlement, show the critical need for orthopedic surgeons to have robust liability coverage:

Total Medical Malpractice Payouts In Georgia 2022

Jury Awards $9 Million

A Georgia jury found in favor of a 7-year-old patient who suffered permanent disfiguration and limited use of the left hand after surgery for a broken arm. It was alleged that the surgeon wrapped the splint too tightly and used medically inappropriate wrap material, resulting in cutting off the blood supply to the patient’s hand.

$275,000 Settlement

The patient alleged that the orthopedic surgeon failed to diagnose and treat compartment syndrome following wrist surgery, resulting in permanent disability of the patient’s hand.

How MEDPLI Brokers Help Orthopedic Surgeons Save Time and Money on Medical Malpractice Insurance

Working with MEDPLI as your trusted broker takes the guesswork and effort out of trying to get the right coverage at the best rate on your own. We help you save time and money by:

  • Researching your best coverage, rate, and “A” rated carrier options that specifically meet the requirements of your specialty and practice location in Georgia.

  • Asking about any policy discounts offered for a new practice, medical association members, or physicians with no previous claims, for example. Some of our carrier partners offer discounts for risk management and provide CMEs.

  • Researching flexible payment options offered by carriers to best fit the budget for your practice.

  • Reviewing and consulting with you on all quotes, payment options, and possible discounts to help you make the best choice of coverage and rate for your needs.

MEDPLI insurance brokers are ready to help you navigate the complexities of Georgia’s medical malpractice laws and secure the right amount of coverage for your orthopedic surgery practice. From submitting your application, obtaining the best rates for new policies and renewals from “A” rated carriers, and more, MEDPLI is the only medical malpractice insurance broker you’ll need.