New Jersey Orthopedic Surgeons Are in Demand

More than 700 New Jersey orthopedic surgeons serve diverse patient populations – including a growing segment of older adults – with advanced joint replacement, spinal fusion, and other musculoskeletal procedures in the New York, Newark, Jersey City metro areas. Also, New Jersey is home to two of the Top 50 Orthopedic Hospitals in the U.S. for 2023/2024 by U.S. News & World Report: Morristown Medical Center and Hackensack University Medical Center/Hackensack Meridian Health.

However, orthopedic surgery is considered a high-risk specialty, and New Jersey has a litigious reputation. According to the National Practitioner Data Bank, there were 496 medical malpractice suits filed in New Jersey in 2022, and over $215 million paid out to plaintiffs.

That’s why New Jersey 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 New Jersey.

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Medical Malpractice Insurance Requirements for New Jersey Orthopedic Surgeons

By law, New Jersey orthopedic surgeons are required to maintain a minimum amount of medical malpractice insurance coverage. The standard limits of liability in New Jersey 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 New Jersey. 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.

Cost of Medical Malpractice Insurance for New Jersey 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 New Jersey areas:

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

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

Types of Professional Liability Insurance for New Jersey Orthopedic Surgeons

Here is a brief overview of the most common types of medical malpractice insurance for orthopedic surgeons in New Jersey:

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.  Read more about tail malpractice insurance.

Reach out to an experienced MEDPLI insurance broker who will do all of 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 medical specialist’s situation is unique, so we recommend a conversation with a MEDPLI insurance broker to the discuss the unique needs of your New Jersey orthopedic surgery 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 orthopedic surgery specialty.

Get Quotes from A-rated Carriers Serving New Jersey Orthopedic 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. The top carriers include:

  • MedPro Group (Princeton)

  • Coverys Group

  • MD Advantage (A MagMutual Company)

  • ProAssurance 

  • Liberty Mutual Group

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 New Jersey 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 New Jersey orthopedic surgery medical malpractice cases include these injuries and complications:

  • Laceration of a blood vessel or artery

  • Pseudo aneurysm caused by injury to the blood vessel wall
  • Surgery performed on the wrong limb
  • Using incorrect surgical tools or implants

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.

New Jersey’s Medical Malpractice Insurance Legislation

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

New Jersey’s Damage Caps on Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

There are no caps on payouts for economic and non-economic damages in medical malpractice lawsuits. In any injury case, punitive damages are limited to $350,000 or five times the amount of compensatory damages, whichever is greater. However, punitive damages are rare partly because they require proof that the defendant acted with “actual malice” or a “wanton and willful disregard” toward injury.

New Jersey’s Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice Claims

According to state law, the conditions for filing a medical malpractice lawsuit in New Jersey are:

  • Medical malpractice suits must be filed within two years of the date of the injury

  • If the injury could not have been reasonably discovered within that two year period, the statute of limitations will not begin to run until discovery

  • Birth-related medical malpractice claims must commence prior to a minor’s 13th birthday

  • If a patient was a minor at the time of injury, they have until age 18 to file suit

  • If a minor died as a result of medical malpractice, the claim must be filed within two years

Orthopedic Surgery Medical Malpractice Outcomes in New Jersey

With no caps on economic and non-economic damages in New Jersey, orthopedic surgeons are more vulnerable to personal financial loss if they do not have robust medical malpractice coverage.

In 2022, the total medical malpractice payout in New Jersey was $146,784,000.

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

Total Medical Malpractice Insurance Claim Payouts New Jersey 2022

$1 Million Settlement

The juvenile plaintiff’s family alleged that the surgeon was negligent in delaying treatment of a developing foot drop for 10 months after surgery to correct bowed legs. As a result, the foot drop is permanent.

Jury Awards $1.2 Million

The plaintiff, a teenage all-state tennis player, suffered severe, permanent nerve damage during surgery to determine if a bone growth in her leg was cancerous. She can no longer play tennis. The jury found the surgeon negligent for performing unnecessary surgery and failing to obtain informed consent.

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 New Jersey.

  • You fill out one application and we provide multiple quotes.

  • 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 New Jersey’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.