Illinois Neurosurgeons Need Robust Malpractice Coverage

Illinois boasts 57 top-performing neurosurgery programs among the 2023-2024 “best of” rankings of U.S. healthcare systems by U.S. News and World Report. The data also shows that the state needs more neurosurgeons, especially in central and southern Illinois. The majority of Illinois’ 373 neurosurgeons practice in the Chicago metro area, compared to 14 in the state capital of Springfield, and 7 serving patients in the southern part of the state.

However, Illinois is also among the top 10 most litigious U.S. states for medical malpractice. The National Practitioner Data Bank reports that more than 1,500 medical malpractice claims were filed in Illinois in 2022.

That’s why Illinois neurosurgeons need robust and affordable medical malpractice coverage.

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

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If you are an Illinois neurosurgeon in private practice, or planning to open a new practice in Illinois, 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 Illinois Neurosurgeons

Illinois law does not require neurosurgeons to carry medical malpractice insurance to practice in the state. The standard limits of liability in Illinois 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 Illinois. As an independent broker, we specialize in medical malpractice insurance for neurosurgeons. We work for you to find the best policy at a great price.

Medical malpractice insurance requirements for Illinois neurosurgeons

Cost of Medical Malpractice Insurance for Illinois Neurosurgeons

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

In Illinois, the areas that typically carry the highest rates are: Chicago (Cook County); Madison and St. Clair Counties (Metro East Illinois counties adjacent to the Greater St. Louis, MO, area).

The following are approximate medical malpractice insurance premium rates for neurosurgeons across all Illinois areas:

 Specialty Approximate Claims Made Rate Approximate Tail Rate Approximate Occurrence Rate
Neurosurgery $120,000 $240,000 $130,000

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

Types of Professional Liability Insurance for Illinois Neurosurgeons

Here is a brief overview of the most common types of medical malpractice insurance in Illinois:

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.

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 generally stays the same for the length of the policy, and there is no need for tail coverage when the policy ends.

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.

Reach out to an experienced MEDPLI insurance broker who will get to 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 medical specialist’s situation is unique, so we recommend a conversation with a MEDPLI insurance broker to discuss the unique needs of your Illinois practice. Your MEDPLI insurance broker will explain the benefits and limitations of each type of medical malpractice insurance to ensure you get the right type and amount of coverage for your neurosurgery specialty at the best rate.

Get Quotes from A-rated Carriers Serving Illinois Neurosurgeons

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

  • The Doctors Company


  • MedPro Group

  • ProAssurance

  • NORCAL Group (A Part of ProAssurance)

  • Coverys Group

Why Neurosurgeons Are Classified as High Risk by Medical Malpractice Insurance Companies

Medical malpractice insurance underwriters classify neurosurgery as high-risk because of the potential for patient outcomes with severe permanent injury or death. Statistics published in an article in The Journal of Neurosurgery indicate that nearly 20% of all practicing neurosurgeons in the U.S. are named as defendants in malpractice lawsuits each year.

Top Reasons Why Illinois Neurosurgeons Are Sued

According to a review of neurosurgery medical malpractice claims data by “A” rated malpractice insurance carrier MedPro Group , more than half of the cases cited allegations of patient injuries including pain, nerve damage, mobility loss, and the need for additional surgery related to these specific procedures:

  • Exploration/decompression of the spinal canal

  • Excision of the intervertebral disc

  • Cervical fusion, anterior

  • Lumbar fusion, posterior

In addition, some of the most often cited allegations in Illinois’ neurosurgery medical malpractice cases include:

  • Surgical errors resulting in irreversible brain damage

  • Improper post-surgical monitoring resulting in permanent paralysis

  • Uncontrolled brain bleeds

  • Nerve damage or paralysis caused by misaligned cut

Top reasons IL neurosurgeons are cited for malpractice

Neurosurgeons 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 Neurosurgeons Guide To Managing Malpractice Risk.

Illinois’ Medical Malpractice Insurance Legislation

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

Illinois’ Damage Caps on Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

Illinois currently has no limit on compensation for economic and non-economic patient injuries as a result of medical malpractice. However, Illinois does not allow rewards for punitive damages in medical malpractice lawsuits.

Illinois’ Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice Claims

According to state law, conditions for filing a medical malpractice lawsuit in Illinois are:

  • Within two (2) years from the date the patient knew or should have known of the injury

  • Illinois law prohibits patients from bringing a lawsuit more than four (4) years after the medically negligent act occurred

  • There is a special statute of limitations for patients who are minors at the time the medical malpractice occurred. Anyone under the age of 18 has up to eight (8) years to file a lawsuit, as long as the suit is filed before the patient turns 22.

Neurosurgery Medical Malpractice Outcomes in Illinois

With no cap on economic damages and non-economic damages, neurosurgeons in Illinois are more vulnerable to personal financial loss they do not have robust medical malpractice insurance.

The total medical malpractice payout in Illinois was $148,628,000 in 2022.

The following examples of Illinois medical malpractice lawsuits found in favor of the plaintiff or settled show the critical need for neurosurgeons to have strong liability coverage:

$6.2 Million Settlement

The plaintiff suffered severe brain injury after surgery for a benign cyst. The lawsuit cited allegations of medical negligence because the surgeon failed to use available brain navigation equipment.

Jury Awards $2.04 Million

The plaintiff alleged negligent performance of a bilateral laminectomy as the result of a right-side dural tear causing cerebral-spinal fluid leakage. The patient suffered permanent nerve damage, which prevented her from walking without assistance, driving, and continuing her career as a registered nurse.

How MEDPLI Brokers Help Neurosurgeons 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 all of your best coverage, rate, and “A” rated carrier options that specifically meet the requirements of your OB/GYN specialty and practice location in Illinois.

  • 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 Illinois’ medical malpractice laws and secure the right amount of coverage for your neurosurgery 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 ever need.