Everything You Need to Know About Freight Claims
08/25/2017 — Leah Palnik
Damaged freight is every shipper’s worst nightmare. To make it worse, filing freight claims is a complex and frustrating process. There is a lot you need to know about what to document, what to file, and what the Carmack Amendment covers. Before you find yourself in this mess, it’s best to learn some of the basics.
First, damaged freight isn’t the only type of freight claim you may encounter. You may also experience a shortage or a lost shipment all together. And then there’s the concealed claims – when the cargo damage or shortage is discovered after delivery and reported after the driver leaves. As you can imagine, there can be extra hoops to jump through in these situations.
Before you can understand what to do in the case you need to file a cargo claim, you need to understand the Carmack Amendment. This law addresses the issue of liability between shippers and carriers. Under this law, you have to establish that the goods in question were picked up in good condition, delivered in damaged condition, and resulted in a specific amount of damage.
Once you’re able to prove that these requirements were met, the carrier is held liable unless it proves that it was not negligent and the cause of cargo damage was one of the following:
- Act of God
- Public enemy
- Act of default of shipper
- Public authority
- The inherent vice or nature of the goods
If you have to file a claim, it’s best to do it as soon as possible. You typically will have 9 months from the delivery date, or only 5 days in the case of a concealed claim. You’ll want to have the Proof of Delivery (POD), the original Bill of Lading (BOL), freight bill, merchandise invoice, and replacement invoice or repair bill to support your claim. Taking pictures to include is also very helpful.
Unfortunately there are several issues that could cause your cargo claim to be denied. If you want to secure a fair resolution, make sure your documentation is accurate, your claim includes specific details, and you have proof that you attempted to mitigate the damage.
The subject of freight claims is complicated, but that doesn’t mean you’re out of luck. PartnerShip has developed a helpful white paper that details everything you need to know about filing a freight claim. It also provides you with important information that will teach you how to package your shipments to avoid damaged freight, how to set procedures for accepting freight that protects you in the event you need to file a claim, and how to ensure your claim doesn’t get denied.