Illinois Plastic Surgeons Need Robust Malpractice Coverage

While most of the ongoing demand for cosmetic plastic surgery procedures occurs in the highly populated Chicago metropolitan area, Illinois plastic surgeons are also sought after in the state’s smaller cities and downstate rural areas.

However, data from the National Practitioner Data Bank (U.S. Health & Human Services) indicated more than 1,500 medical malpractice claims were filed in Illinois in 2022 – making Illinois among the top 10 most litigious U.S. states for medical malpractice. Both cosmetic and restorative plastic surgeries carry a high risk of serious intraoperative patient injuries and post-operative complications.

That’s why Illinois plastic surgeons need robust medical malpractice insurance.

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 plastic surgeon 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 Plastic Surgeons

Illinois law does not require plastic surgeons 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.

Plastic surgery is considered a high-risk specialty, so you should make sure your coverage features are favorable to be adequately protected if sued for malpractice.

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 plastic surgeons. We work for you to find the best policy at a great price.

Medical Malpractice Insurance Requirements For Plastic Surgeons In Illinois

Cost of Medical Malpractice Insurance for Illinois Plastic Surgeons

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 plastic surgeons across all Illinois areas:

 Specialty Approximate Claims Made Rate Approximate Tail Rate Approximate Occurrence Rate
Plastic Surgery $80,000 $160,000 $90,000

*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 Plastic Surgeons

Here is an brief overview of the three most common types of medical malpractice insurance for plastic surgeons 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 surgeon’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 plastic surgery specialty.

Get Quotes from A-Rated Carriers Serving New Jersey Plastic Surgeons

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 Plastic Surgeons Are Classified as High Risk by Illinois Medical Malpractice Insurance Companies

Medical malpractice insurance underwriters classify bariatric surgery as a high-risk specialty because of the surgical side-effects and complications that commonly lead to allegations of malpractice. Therefore, no matter what state you practice in, the cost of medical malpractice insurance will be higher for bariatric surgeons compared to other lower-risk specialties.

Top Reasons Why Illinois Plastic Surgeons Are Sued

A review of malpractice claims data by “A” rated malpractice insurance carrier MedPro Group found that improper surgical performance and poor outcomes of higher-risk elective cosmetic surgeries, surgical errors, and negligence regarding post-operative infections contributed to the risks of plastic surgery, including these iatrogenic patient injuries:

  • Nerve damage near the surgical site

  • Scarring and disfigurement

  • Surgical incision errors

  • Damage to surrounding tissues

  • Improper placement of implants

According to a 2020 study by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), plastic surgeons in the East North Central region of the U.S., which includes Illinois, performed 17% of all breast augmentation surgeries and 23% of buttock augmentation (buttock “lift”) with fat grafting procedures in the U.S. Other most-often performed cosmetic procedures by Illinois plastic surgeons include cheek implants, eyelid surgery, facelifts, and rhinoplasty.

Most of these procedures carry a higher risk of medical malpractice claims citing specific injuries or complications. For example, a review of closed medical malpractice claims by “A” rated carrier The Doctors Company revealed that gluteal fat grafting or “Brazilian Butt Lift” has the highest death rate at 1 in 3,000 than for any other cosmetic or aesthetic surgery. Risk factors of other common cosmetic procedures include:

  • Cheek implant surgery – Improper placement of implant resulting in disfigurement

  • Eyelid surgery – Difficulty closing eyes, temporary “lid lag” on lower eyelid, outward rolling of lower eyelid (ectropion), temporary or permanent vision changes

  • Facelift – Damage to several critical blood vessels during orthognathic surgery (reshaping and structuring the jaw)

Plastic 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 Plastics Surgeon’s Guide To Managing 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 plastic 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.

Plastic Surgeon Medical Malpractice Outcomes in Illinois

With no cap on economic damages and non-economic damages, plastic surgeons in Illinois are more vulnerable to personal financial loss if sued.

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

The following example of an Illinois medical malpractice lawsuit found in favor of the plaintiff shows the critical need for plastic surgeons to have adequate liability coverage:

Jury Awards Plastic Surgery Patient $4.5 Million

An Illinois woman suffered an eye injury in an auto accident. She brought a malpractice suit against the plastic surgeon who performed the reconstructive surgery, claiming that the surgeon caused nerve entrapment by incorrectly placing titanium mesh and screws in the eye area. She required additional surgery, and continues to have pain on the left side of her face.

Jury Awards Plastic Surgery Patient $1 Million

A female patient suffered nerve damage, drooping lower eyelid, scarring, and excessive tear duct watering after undergoing a blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery) performed as part of a facelift. The patient claimed that she had not agreed to the additional eyelid surgery. Although the surgeon maintained that the patient had given verbal approval on the day of the surgery, the jury found that the surgeon had failed to provide the patient with enough information required for informed consent for the additional blepharoplasty. The jury awarded the patient $1 million for pain and suffering, disfigurement, and loss of enjoyment of life.

Even the Best Plastic Surgeons In Illinois Need Protection From Malpractice Lawsuits

Most surgeons face at least one medical malpractice lawsuit brought forth by a patient throughout their career, so it’s essential to be covered when it happens to you. In addition to damages awarded to the plaintiff, having medical malpractice insurance assures that your legal costs will be covered regardless of whether the case is won or lost.

How MEDPLI Brokers Help Plastic 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 all of your best coverage, rate, and “A” rated carrier options that specifically meet the requirements of your plastic 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.

  • 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 plastic surgical 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.