Do I need to hire a lawyer to apply for my no-fault benefits?
“Do I need a lawyer to start no-fault benefits?”
No. You can start your no-fault claim on your own. If you are hurt in a motor vehicle accident, you can contact your insurance company and set up your claim for medical, wage loss and other no-fault benefits. There is no rule that you have to have a lawyer do this for you. In fact, attorneys are required to explain to you that it is not necessary to have a lawyer in order to make this application for benefits.
You may hire a lawyer to help you apply for benefits if you wish. Many people find that the no-fault system is difficult to understand and to work their way through. Others find very quickly that the information the insurance company wants before it will start paying seems unreasonable or overwhelming. Still others are concerned that statements they may make when they apply for benefits on their own could be used against them later on in the case. These can be very legitimate concerns, and you may well need to hire a lawyer to help you receive benefits that are in dispute. Just because you can apply for benefits on your own doesn’t mean that the insurance company is going to pay them. You may very well end up needing a lawyer to help you from the very beginning, if not as your claim continues.
Of course, your case against the other driver for pain and suffering damages is another matter. We don’t recommend to anybody that they try to deal directly with the other person’s insurance company without hiring a lawyer first when it comes to discussing damages for the injuries themselves.
But the point here is that you do not have to hire a lawyer to apply for your no-fault benefits (with your own insurance company) in the first place, nor do you necessarily have to hire a lawyer to help you with your claim if all of your benefits are being paid promptly. This is something that lawyers are supposed to explain to you.
Source: Formal Ethics Opinion C-223