Joan Odorowski

Attorney at Law

18530 Mack Ave., Suite 286
Grosse Pointe Farms, MI 48236

(313) 926-6688

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Contact Information
Call Today!

(313) 926-6688

Frequently Asked Questions

Below is a list of the most Frequently asked Questions. Click a question to reveal it's answer!

Why should I call you, Joan, as opposed to the other gazillion attorneys advertising on the internet?

I guarantee personal attention to your case. I am a seasoned solo practitioner and will not have your case trickle down to a new attorney on the low end of the totem pole. I may associate with a colleague who can provide expert assistance on your case, but I guarantee that referral attorney is a learned, trusted and experienced attorney to whom I would only refer a dear friend.

Will we have to file my case in Court?

It depends. Sometimes cases can be settled pre-suit with the insurance company. Sometimes filing suit is necessary if we are dealing with a recalcitrant insurance company. In that case, I will determine if your case should be filed in State Court or Federal Court. If it is an ERISA case, it will have to be filed in Federal Court.

What is ERISA?

ERISA is the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974. 29 U.S.C. §§ 1001-1461 (2006). Congress enacted this law in order to create uniform standards of conduct, responsibility and obligations for fiduciaries in employer-provided benefit plans, such as insurance-funded retirement, health, life, accidental death and dismemberment, disability plans, and to provide appropriate remedies, sanctions and access to federal courts for claimants.

When is my ERISA claim “ripe” for filing?

Only after your administrative remedies have been exhausted with the insurance company. Read your claim denial letter from the insurer. The claim denial letter must comply with ERISA’s statutory and regulatory requirements concerning a full and fair review. These are set forth under the Code of Federal Regulations. See attached tab entitled 29 C.F.R. § 2560-503.1.

Bottom line:

It is advisable to have an attorney assist you in navigating through this internal appeals process. The administrative record on file with the insurance company will provide the sole foundation for Federal court review of the denial of your claim.

Can I apply for Social Security and LTD (Long Term Disability insurance policy benefits) at the same time?

Yes, and in fact, it may be a requirement of your LTD policy.

What are some of the issues you have come across in you have handled in the life insurance realm?

A few of the interesting issues in cases I have resolved I have come across include:

  • Is the insurance company engaging in post-claims underwriting (a prohibited practice)?
  • Is the insurance company spuriously claiming that the insured “misrepresented” something on the policy application?
  • Was there a missed premium payment with defective notice of cancellation?
  • Was it an accidental death or suicide?
  • Was it an accidental death, natural death, or combination of both?
  • Were there procedural defects under ERISA?
  • Did the insurance company simply “non-chalant it” (to quote Yogi Berra) and mishandle the claim?

While waiting for my Social Security Disability benefits, with no money coming in, my car was repossessed. It turns out that I had “Credit Disability” benefits. What can I do?

I can assist you. Several years ago, I litigated this very issue which culminated in a week and a half long jury trial wherein the jury found that a major car finance company violated the Michigan Consumer Protection Act by not reminding my disabled client that he had been paying for this insurance.

Will you guarantee to take my case?

No. I do not take every case that comes down the pike. Some attorneys work in high volume. I do not. I have enough experience to know which cases are meritless. Those cases clog the court system, waste time and money (yours and mine) and I will not participate in such barratry. If I think you don’t have a case, I will tell you flat-out. You are free to seek numerous other free consultations from other attorneys who advertise on the web. Certainly there are enough attorneys out there that will take any case. Just be careful where you spend your time and money.

How do I pay you?

If I do accept your case, I will enter into a written fee agreement with you. Some cases will be taken on a contingency fee basis (“no recovery, no fee”), and some will be handled on an hourly basis. I will give you a complimentary consultation over the phone.

I am embarrassed because of my legal predicament and have “buried my head in the sand” rather than face it head-on. Is it too late to even pursue my claim?

Don’t be embarrassed. I’ve seen it all. I know personally what it is like to deal with health challenges (I have Type I diabetes) and everything that goes along with it (yes, it is a very expensive condition, even with health insurance). I understand that we all have hard times at some point in our lives and not everyone is a pillar of strength 100% of the time. Sometimes a word of encouragement, or a suggestion in which direction to move is what you need. As a fan of vintage baseball, let me share with you the poem presented to Lou Gehrig at his retirement at Yankee Stadium on July 4, 1939.

Don't Quit

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all up hill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest! If you must, but don’t you quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As everyone of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don’t give up, through the pace seems slow;
You might succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than
It seems to a faint and faltering man,
Often the struggler has given up
When he might have captured the victor’s cup.
And he learned too late, when the night slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out;
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt;
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems afar;
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit;
It’s when things seem worst that you mustn’t quit.

- Anonymous



Oftentimes people call in with one legal matter, and that turns out to be the tip of the iceberg. One crisis leads to another. You have a claim and while waiting for its resolution, and due to no fault of your own, everything piles up: medical bills going unpaid, health conditions worsening because of financial stress and anxiety, you're on the brink of home foreclosure, facing vehicle repossession, and, you might be self-medicating because of the stress, depressed and despondent. Your family life is suffering. Suddenly your life seems like one big legal issue. I've seen it time and time again. Don't give up! Call me and let me see if I can provide resources for you. If I cannot handle your type of case, I have a network of experienced colleagues to whom I can refer you. I will "triage" your legal issues and get you into the right hands.




Contact Info

Joan Odorowski

Attorney at Law

18530 Mack Ave., Suite 286

Grosse Pointe Farms, MI 48236

(313) 926-6688

e-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.