The short answer is that if your injuries are minor, you may not need to hire a lawyer. If you don't expect to be permanently impaired by your injury and plan to return to work after all your medical expenses have been paid by your employer's insurance, you shouldn't need an attorney.
If your injuries are severe enough to require surgery, it is in your best interest to get a lawyer.
This is because you will need an advocate to represent your interests against the insurance company, whose goal is to pay out the smallest settlement possible. Every workers' compensation case is assigned to an insurance adjuster. This person is a professional who will do what they can to lowball you and get you to accept the smallest settlement so the insurance company is more profitable.
Complex workers' compensation laws can be very difficult to navigate, and only an experienced lawyer can be expected to make the right moves. The insurance company is banking on you making an error here. On top of that, insurance adjusters will typically figure out a maximum for the settlement they are willing to pay out, and make an offer to you at 25 to 50% of that value. It can be tempting to take this first offer. A good worker's compensation attorney will fight to maximize what you can get from the insurance company, up to the highest amount available under the limits of the insurance policy.
For these reasons, negotiating any kind of dispute over benefits with your employer is best done through an attorney. This person will represent your interests against the paid professionals at the insurance company on the other side. Most workers' compensation lawyers are paid on a "contingency-fee" basis, which means that they only charge legal fees if you win your case.
If it's unclear whether you should go ahead and hire an attorney, you can seek out a free consultation at a law office, where an attorney will go over the details of your case with you and offer often invaluable information to you for no charge.
This is how we operate at Atwood, Holsten, Brown, Deaver and Spier. You can connect with us through the phone or email information listed on our contact page. Our experienced attorneys can help you sort through the steps toward a successful worker's compensation case and fight the insurance company for the best available settlement.