When to file a claim
Claims should be filed immediately when a loss or damage is discovered. The time limit for filing a claim is nine (9) months from the date of delivery. If the carrier does not receive the claim within this time, the law bars payment.
Who should file a claim?
The shipper, consignee, or the owner of the goods may file a claim. The party that has suffered an actual loss should be the claimant.
With whom should the claim be filed?
The claim may be filed with the originating carrier, delivering carrier or an intermediate carrier, if determined that loss or damage occurred while in the possession of that carrier.
- Original invoice
- Original invoice verifies that the amount of the claim does not exceed the terms of sale (value of the goods) at destination, and excludes any prospective profit. The original invoice must disclose all discounts and allowances, if any. A clear photocopy is acceptable.
- Repair or replacement invoice (if applicable).
- When sending a repair invoice, it should include a breakdown of hours, labor rates, and materials.
Concealed Loss or Damage
When damage is discovered after the delivery receipt is signed and the cartons are opened, it is termed concealed damage. In accordance with our freight bill, concealed damage must be reported within 5 (five) days. While awaiting inspection, the consignee must hold the shipping container and its contents in the same condition they were in when damage was discovered. The carrier will send a representative to perform the inspection or will waive inspection.
* The inspection report is NOT a claim. It is the responsibility of the claimant to file a cargo claim within the prescribed time frame and to respond to any request from the carrier for supporting documentation. The claim will then be concluded based on facts determined during investigation.
Salvage must be retained until the claim is resolved, or until the carrier gives the claimant disposition. No Salvage is to be disposed of without written authorization from the carrier.
Burden of Proof
The law requires that the claimant establish three things:
- The carrier received the freight in good condition at origin.
- The freight was short or damaged at delivery.
- The dollar amount of loss or damage.
Paying the freight bill
Section 217 (b) of the Interstate Commerce Act (49 U.S.C.317 (b) prohibits a carrier from collecting any charges different from those published in the carrier’s effective tariff. The payment of freight charges may not be postponed due to alleged loss or damage. These charges should be paid in full and the portion applicable to the lost or damaged item should be included in the freight claim. Claims and payment of freight charges are two entirely different transactions. ICC regulations prohibit withholding payment of freight bills because of pending claim or claims. Without payment of freight charges, payment for transportation has not been made. A valid claim will not be paid until freight charges are paid in full.