Sadly, often insurance companies will not settle and will require you to go through the hoops before they extend an offer of settlement. Sometimes they will not settle and they will opt to try the case in court. If you do not have a lawyer, you will probably not be too successful in prosecuting our claim.
You have two years to sue from the time of an injury. An attorney will make sure that your rights are protected, as the goal of an insurance company is to pay you nothing. Even before stepping into a court room, communicating your information from attorney lets the insurance carrier know that you back down, and might even avoid court all together. You'll be paying your attorney from your settlement in many cases, meaning that there is no money out of pocket for you.
Play it safe. Injured? Be it a slip and fall, an accident, or a workman's compensation issue, get an attorney.