New Jersey Has High Demand for Plastic Surgery

With a relatively low number of plastic surgeons per capita in New Jersey, plastic surgeons are in demand in this densely populated state, as well as by affluent patient populations in New York City and other neighboring metro areas seeking a variety of cosmetic procedures.

However, both cosmetic and reconstruction plastic surgeries carry a high risk of serious intraoperative patient injuries and post-operative complications. That’s why New Jersey plastic surgeons need robust medical malpractice insurance.

That’s why New Jersey 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 New Jersey.

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

Medical Malpractice Insurance Requirements for New Jersey Plastic Surgeons

Massachusetts law requires surgeons to maintain medical malpractice insurance with the required minimum coverage amounts for claims against injury or death set at $1,000,000 Each Claim / $3,000,000 Aggregate per year.

However, bariatric surgery is considered a high-risk specialty, so you will need more coverage than $1,000,000 Each Claim / $3,000,000 Aggregate per year 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 Massachusetts. As an independent broker, we specialize in medical malpractice insurance for bariatric surgeons. We can help you find the best coverage at a great price.

Cost of Medical Malpractice Insurance for New Jersey Plastic Surgeons

To calculate the cost of medical malpractice insurance for a plastic surgeon, each insurance carrier uses its own proprietary methods of setting rates. Factors that affect the price of insurance include practice location, surgical specialty, and past claims history.

The following are approximate medical malpractice insurance premium rates for plastic surgeons across all New Jersey areas:

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

*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 Plastic Surgeons

Here is an brief overview of the three most common types of medical malpractice insurance for plastic 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.

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 New Jersey practice.

Your MEDPLI insurance broker will explain the benefits and limitations of each type of medical malpractice insurance available in your state to ensure you get the right type and amount of coverage for your plastic surgery specialty.

NJ Plastic Surgeons Top Rated Medical Malpractice Insurance Carriers

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. The top carriers in New Jersey include:

  • Princeton (MedPro Group)

  • Coverys Group

  • MD Advantage (A MagMutual Company)

  • ProAssurance

  • Conventus

Why Plastic Surgeons Are Classified as High Risk by New Jersey 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 New Jersey 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 U.S. Middle Atlantic region, which includes New Jersey, performed 42% of all cheek implant surgeries and 22% of rhinoplasty surgeries in the U.S.

Other cosmetic plastic surgeries most often performed in New Jersey include: breast augmentation, liposuction, facelift, and abdominoplasty (“tummy tuck”). Most of these procedures carry a higher risk of medical malpractice claims citing specific injuries or complications, such as:

  • 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.

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 plastic practice is protected with the right amount of medical malpractice insurance coverage.

New Jersey’s Damage Caps on Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

In 2023 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 in 2023 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

Plastic Surgeon Medical Malpractice Outcomes in New Jersey

With no caps on economic and non-economic damages in New Jersey, plastic surgeons are more vulnerable to personal financial loss if they have inadequate 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 plastic surgeons to have more than adequate liability coverage:

Total Medical Malpractice Insurance Claim Payouts New Jersey 2022

Plastic Surgery Case Settled for $300,000

The patient alleged that a New Jersey plastic surgeon used improper surgical technique during bilateral otoplasty surgery, resulting in significant deformity of both ears.

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 New Jersey 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

Although previously among the highest in the country, New Jersey’s medical malpractice insurance rates have become more stable and affordable. However, working with MEDPLI 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 New Jersey.

  • 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 plastic surgical practice. From submitting your application, obtaining the best rates for new policies and renewals from “A” rated carriers and more, MEDPLI will make your malpractice insurance less painful.