Having worked closely with Dr. Bill Gallagher over the last few years, I was excited to sit down with him to discuss his practice and learn more about the man behind the columns. In addition to his own practice, Gallagher is the founder and director of education for the American Academy of Motor Vehicle Injuries.
AALM: Tell us about your start in the chiropractic profession.
Gallagher: After a collision with a drunk driver where I lost my voice, I saw some of the top medical specialists in New York City for treatment; they did nothing for me. I turned to a chiropractor who had started his practice after retiring from the phone company, who made all the difference in my recovery. At the age of 33, I followed in his example and went back to school.
AALM: Tell us about the brand you have created and the culture your company strives to maintain?
Gallagher: With the introduction of Colossus in 1992 and some 80 derivative programs, insurance companies have raised the bar when it comes to settling a personal injury case. What I have found is that they are only demanding that doctors properly diagnose the injuries, treat them appropriately and document everything.
Through the programs offered by the American Academy of Motor Vehicles Injuries, doctors will have the tools and knowledge to do just that. They will not only be able to diagnose the problems most doctors miss, but they will also provide the attorney with the documentation needed to get a settlement.
AALM: What do you think are the most pressing concerns for lawyers when it comes to clients and their chiropractors?
Gallagher: The majority of people injured in motor vehicle collisions see a chiropractor first. As such, personal injury attorneys will find themselves working with us often. The problem is that too many chiropractors do not know how to properly diagnose, document and manage motor vehicle injuries. In putting together the 150-hour certificate in motor vehicle injuries program to teach DCs, I found that for the most part MDs and attorneys also had considerable room for improvement.
AALM: What do you enjoy most about working with attorneys?
Gallagher: Despite the public image that the profession is saddled with, I have found attorneys operate at a higher level of ethics and integrity than most people would ever imagine.
AALM: Tell us about your experience in the litigation arena.
Gallagher: Cases go to court because both side see weaknesses and feel that they can win. My objective it to provide enough documentation to convince the insurance company that they will lose if they go to court.
AALM: Tell us about one of the cases you worked on that most impacted you.
Gallagher: Sending a client to an IME without someone to observe is like giving the client the insurance adjuster’s phone number and asking them to settle. When I presented this to a high-profile personal injury attorney, he said that would be legal malpractice. An attorney who recently asked me to observe an IME sent my CV to the insurance company and the next day they canceled that IME.
AALM: Are there any changes coming in the future that you’re excited about?
Gallagher: Right now attorneys and insurance companies want to see an MD validating the chiropractors work. AMA Resolution 310 stated that “musculoskeletal education in medical schools is inadequate.” They know that DCs know this area better than they do. In the next five years, as more chiropractors have completed this program, attorneys and insurance companies will demand that a DC validate the MD’s work.
AALM: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Gallagher: While a personal injury attorney will want doctors they work with to earn the certificate we offer, there are at least three classes in the program that would be important to them too and we have arranged a discounted price at http://aamvi.org.