Kellee – Cairns, 2016

“Attempting to sum up the impact Max & Melissa have had on my families life in a few words, is incredibly difficult.

We began working with Emmanuel solicitors in 2014 after a chance phone call to gain advice about my husband’s case, which was before the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

Prior to this point he had been dealing with DVA for about 8 years since discharge with almost no guidance and very limited success. His well-documented service injuries, which lead to a medical discharge, were accepted in the early years after discharge. However achieving acceptance of permanent impairment proved to be a very different matter. Over the 8 years since discharge there had been significant errors in documentation leading to a false diagnosis and assumptions of preexisting conditions, which prevented the appropriate permanent impairment rating being awarded.

As a partner of someone going thought this process, it is a difficult thing to witness. My husband was in a highly physical role in the military. This role provided him with a confidence and pride that has been difficult to replicate since. In the early days following discharge, his fierce loyalty to the Army meant that he held the belief that DVA would look after him. His injuries were well documented and he could see no reason why the process would not be efficient and swift. This unwavering loyalty prevented him from seeking appropriate legal advice early on. As the years progressed, his case deteriorated and proving the severity of the original injuries that he was discharged for became increasingly difficult.

The internal turmoil he experienced, increased with every phone call, letter or decision from DVA. He felt utterly abandoned by a service that he thought was there to look after him. It just seemed as though no one cared. As a partner, it is hard to watch someone you love suffer in this way.

At this point we became very proactive at gathering our own medical evidence, at our own cost, rather than relying on the DVA medical reports. While we managed to have some of the decisions appealed and more PI points awarded, his most significant injury was still in question due to inaccurate documentation in his notes during and since service. At this point we were left with no choice but to appeal to the AAT. 

It became apparent at the first AAT mediation hearing that the solicitors working for DVA have no motivation to do the right and moral thing, but rather find a way to win at any cost. We realized that we were out of our depth and my husband was tired and exhausted by the process and ready to quit. After years of having the severity of his injuries questioned, he began to question them himself. This is what the exhaustion of dealing with DVA does to people.

I came across Emanuel solicitors and our first conversation was the most positive experience we had in years. Finally someone understood the situation my husband was in. It took some persuading to convince him to take the enormous step of engaging legal representation, however after his first conversation with Max and Melissa he was like a different person. To finally have the validation that he had a genuine case did wonders for his frame of mind.

We have been working with Max and Melissa for 2 years now. Throughout this time they have been nothing short of outstanding. They aren’t the usual lawyer types that you might imagine. When you bring them on board, you work together as a team. They talk through each decision in great detail and involve you at every important step in the process. They have never overpromised what the outcome might be, but have remained conservative, providing a range of potential decisions. With all DVA dealings, the process is unnecessarily complex, overly bureaucratic and frustratingly slow, but Max and Melissa are well versed in system and are there to make sure it moves as swiftly as possible. They have demonstrated their expertise in the field of military compensation to us in every interaction to date.

We know that we finally have people on our side that have my husband’s best interests at heart. The positive impact of this alone on our lives is incredibly valuable. Max and Melissa have managed to navigate through all the unnecessary information that has clouded the case and make sure that the outcome reflective of the facts can be reached. I cannot recommend them highly enough to anyone who is going through the process of military compensation.”