When to File a freight Loss or Damage Claim

Delays, losses and damages are unavoidable. When such events happen, shippers should file a claim, which will help them to recover the losses. If you are a shipper, you should understand how the claims process works as well as the application of the law, since the shipping industry tends to work differently. There are two main reasons why you should understand these claims. First, unrecovered claims have a huge financial impact on the bottom line of the company. Secondly, this knowledge is important for shippers since they are on their own especially when it comes to claims.

When to File a Freight Damage Claim

When Should You File?

First, you need to understand that a cargo claim mainly depends upon the breach of contract on the part of the carrier. Whether the carrier was negligent or not is a different matter altogether. When it comes to a transportation contract, the shipper and the carrier have two distinct roles.

The main role of the carrier is to move the cargo, from the pickup point to the agreed destination. On the other hand, the shipper should pay the carrier, on arrival of the goods, as agreed. There is a caveat to this contract. The cargo should not be tampered with or damaged, during arrival. This implies that if the cargo is damaged, delayed or even lost along the way, then the carrier has breached the contract.

However, shippers must prove their claim, in order for it to be successful. Moreover, shippers must prove that the goods were in good condition at origin and show proof of damage at destination, as well as the extent of the damage. The three scenarios must come out very clearly, for the claim to succeed. After these three elements have been established, the carrier has to shoulder the burden.

Determining the Rules

The method of transportation used mainly determines the legal principles to be applied. For example, domestic water, rail, domestic air, international air, and international ocean all come with different time and delivery limits for filing claims. This translates to the fact that different deadlines apply to different situations.

For example, goods moving through road will take a much longer time to arrive, than those transported through air. Therefore, when filing for claims, such issues must be considered, in order to make it fair for all parties involved. There is also the issue of timelines, which will be discussed below.

Watch the Timelines

When it comes to air carriage, rules apply differently, depending on the location of the goods. In terms of domestic shipments, the carrier sets time limits as well as limits of liability. Such limits vary, from seven days moving down.  These timelines will determine the amount of liability incurred by the carrier. The longer the delay, the higher the liability.

Bottom Line

Whichever transportation mode you chose, the first step when it comes to recovering a loss or damage, is filing a claim. As a shipper, you should file the claim with the transportation carrier, whom you have entered into a contract with.

Justin Bright – CEO Brighter Logistics

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