We use hundreds of products every day–most of them without even really noticing. We trust the corporations that manufacture these products to do so responsibly, and to meet national safety standards.

Nonetheless, we hear about cases of product defects every day–from exploding airbags to hazardous baby toys that cause suffocation. These types of accidents are relatively common. But that doesn’t mean they’re acceptable.

If you or your loved one is injured by a defective product, you may know that you have the right to pursue legal action. But you may not know how to set your case up for success. Here are five things to do right away:

  1. Go to the doctor. Get treatment for your injuries immediately. There is no reason to prolong your suffering. In addition, getting evaluated by a doctor will also help your case–because a thorough medical assessment can validate the extent of your injuries.
  2. Get a lawyer. As with most personal injury cases, you’re more likely to win–and you’re more likely to get much higher compensation–if you work with a lawyer. In a product liability case, your lawyer can seek damages for your immediate expenses (such as medical bills) as well as compensation for missed wages, emotional distress and other long-term impacts on your life.
  3. Hold onto the product. If there is a hazardous product in the house, it is most people’s inclination to dispose of it. However, it’s important to keep the product that caused you harm–and preserve its condition–as evidence. The best option is to store it in a lock box that’s only accessible by you or your lawyer.
  4. Prove your ownership. Track down the receipt or invoice for the hazardous product. Proof of purchase is helpful to give to your lawyer for review.
  5. Log your recovery. Between the date of your accident and your court date, it’s useful to keep a journal about your recovery. This can help you to identify all of the ways in which the accident has negatively impacted your life. Your lawyer can use this information to push for higher compensation for you.

No one wants to be involved in a serious, debilitating accident. However, if that accident is caused by a corporation’s negligence, you have the right to seek justice in court. Being thoughtful about how you prepare your case greatly increases your chance of success.