When defective or dangerous products cause consumers significant injuries, they have every right to seek compensation for their losses. But product liability claims rely largely on proving your case through the evidence -- so you want to take steps to preserve it.

Here are the steps you need to take to make sure that you preserve the evidence in your claim and protect your rights:

  1. Do not immediately contact the manufacturer or retailer. When consumers call in with a complaint, they're typically told to return the product, packaging or proof of purchase. Doing that could literally destroy your case. The manufacturer or retailer isn't going to offer to fairly compensate you for your injuries if they can just refund your money.
  2. Preserve the entire product, even if it is only partially intact. If possible, preserve the packaging as well -- and any proof that shows where you purchased the defective item. In particular, the instructions or labels that came with the product could be important down the line. Ideally, only you and your attorney should be able to access the preserved evidence.
  3. Put anybody else with access to the product on notice. If, for example, the defective product is on your car, and the car is in your mechanic's lot, let your mechanic know that the product needs to be preserved as-is, for now.
  4. Keep track of your medical records. You'll want to be able to show proof that the defective product led to significant injuries and how that affected your life.

When defective products cause serious harm, manufacturers and retailers often try to skirt their liability. Don't make it any easier for them to deny their responsibilities by losing track of any important evidence.

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