Texas is a Destination for Orthopedic Surgeons

According to the Austin-based Texas Orthopaedic Association, there are 482 orthopedic surgeons practicing in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex alone. Texas also ensures the continued availability of highly trained orthopedic surgeons for its residents through 14 orthopedic residency training programs across the state, plus two at Texas-based military healthcare facilities.

However, orthopedic surgery is considered a high-risk specialty. Recent data from the National Practitioner Data Bank (U.S. Health & Human Services) revealed that nearly 3, 500 medical malpractice claims were filed in Texas in 2022. In fact, Texas ranked second among the top 10 U.S. states with the most medical malpractice claims that year.

That’s why Texas orthopedic surgeons need robust medical malpractice coverage.

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

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Medical Malpractice Insurance Requirements for Texas Orthopedic Surgeons

Texas does not legally require orthopedic surgeons to carry medical malpractice insurance in order to practice in the state. The standard limits of liability in Texas are $200,000 Each Claim / $600,000 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 Texas. As an independent broker, we specialize in medical malpractice insurance for orthopedic surgeons. We work for you to find the best policy at a great price.

Cost of Medical Malpractice Insurance for Texas Orthopedic 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 Texas, the areas that typically carry the highest rates are: Houston (Harris County), El Paso (El Paso County), Brownsville (Cameron County), McAllen (Hidalgo County), and Laredo (Webb).

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

 Specialty Approximate Claims Made Rate Approximate Tail Rate Approximate Occurrence Rate
$30,000 $60,000 $45,000

*Using the TX standard limits of $200,000 Each Claim / $600,000 Aggregate per year in coverage

Types of Professional Liability Insurance for Texas Orthopedic Surgeons

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

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 Texas 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.

Get Quotes from A-rated Carriers Serving Texas 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. Some of the top carriers include:

  • The Doctors Company

  • MedPro Group

  • TMLT

  • ProAssurance

  • NORCAL Group (A Part of ProAssurance)

  • MagMutual Group

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

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.

Top Reasons Why Texas Neurosurgeons are Sued

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 Texas’ orthopedic surgery medical malpractice cases include:

  • Performing spinal fusions and laminectomies at the wrong level

  • Improper screw placement during spine surgery

  • Misdiagnosis of rotator cuff injury

  • Use of wrong hip prosthetics sizes or placement, requiring additional surgical repair

Orthopedic surgeons can reduce their risk of a malpractice lawsuit by implementing a comprehensive risk management strategy.

Texas’ Medical Malpractice Insurance Legislation

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

Texas’ Damage Caps on Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

  • Non-economic damage caps for medical malpractice lawsuits in Texas are set at $250,000 for individual healthcare providers and $250,000 for each medical facility involved in their injury.
  • There is an overall cap of $500,000 per plaintiff when it concerns how much they can collect from the total amount of medical facilities they sue.
  • There is no limit on the amount of compensation a plaintiff can recover for economic damages in Texas. Economic damages can include:
    • Medical costs for surgeries, physicians’ appointments, prescription medications and medical equipment
    • Lost wages due to the injury
    • Lost earning capacity if the injury is permanently debilitating or makes it impossible for the plaintiff to continue working

Texas’ Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice Claims

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

  • Typical negligence and injuries carry a 2-year statute of limitations. This starts the date the harm was discovered or could reasonably have been discovered.

  • If the injury occurred as part of a continuing course of healthcare treatment, the two years does not start running until the treatment is concluded.

  • Lawsuits filed on behalf of children under 12 years old must be filed by their 14th birthday.

  • Given various court rulings, there is some confusion over the true statute of limitations for minors. It is generally believed that the 2-year statute of limitation for minors will not begin to run until they legally become an adult (18-years-old).

  • Texas’ statute of repose mandates that patients must file a lawsuit for medical errors within 10 years; if no lawsuit is filed before the 10 years runs out, they can no longer bring a claim.

Orthopedic Surgery Medical Malpractice Outcomes in Texas

With no cap on economic damages in Texas, orthopedic surgeons are more vulnerable to personal financial loss if they do not have robust medical malpractice insurance.

The total medical malpractice payout in Texas was $95,130,100 in 2022.

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

Total Medical Malpractice Payouts Texas 2022

$900,000 Orthopedic Surgery Settlement

The plaintiff alleged that the orthopedic surgeon failed to diagnose and correct severe scoliosis in a timely manner, resulting in permanent mobility impairment.

Jury Awards $3.9 Million in Orthopedic Surgery Case

The orthopedic surgeon in this case was sued for alleged improper performance of spinal surgery, resulting in the patient becoming paralyzed due to cauda equine syndrome.

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

  • 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 Texas’ 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 ever need.