You never NEED to get a lawyer. A better question is do I WANT a lawyer. Generally, our job is to guide you through the workers' comp system. if you don't know your way around the system, know the rules, know the tricks of the trade (every trade has them), know the doctors, lawyers, judges, etc. then you may want someone to guide you through the system. I certainly would not rely on the insurance company to be your guide as they are working against you.
Workers' comp lawyers will normally provide you with a free consultation so you have nothing to lose by making an appointment and talking to a lawyer. It would be better to consult wilth an attorney earlier in the case rather than later.
To find a good lawyer, look here at www.avvo.com or at www.caaa.org. CAAA is the association for attorneys who represent injured workers here in California. Or you can call me for a referral.
I believe most injured workers benefit from hiring an attorney to handle their workers' compensation claim. It's not required, but it can give you an advantage. You are probably going through the system for the first time, but an experienced attorney has done it many times and can help you be more efficient and proactive in pursuing your claim. At the very least, it will give you peace of mind that everything is being done on time and that someone is looking out for you. It becomes even more important if something goes wrong -- such as if your claim is denied, if your benefits suddenly stop, or if there is a dispute about your health. Also, an experienced attorney will understand how to negotiate with the insurance company to ensure you are fully compensated for your injury. Unrepresented workers often get very low offers from the insurance companies and don't know how much their case is worth.
If you need help finding a work injury attorney, feel free to give me a call. I would be happy to recommend someone in your area who has the right experience to help you. You can reach me at 1-800-807-9530. Good luck.