Most auto parts chain stores (autozone, etc.) will pull the codes for free.
It would be helpful to know what the fault codes are.
That being said, I will say this and you can make the decision based on this information.
A solid check engine light is a fault that will affect emissions. More often than not, it isn't something that will cause short term damage.
A flashing check engine light indicates that there is an engine damaging fault. Among these faults could be multiple cylinder misfire or something that severely affects the engine.