Freight Claims: Practical Advice for Quick Issue Resolution

May 30, 2023


6 min read

Freight Claims: Practical Advice for Quick Issue Resolution

When goods are shipped, they are expected to reach their intended destination safely. However, sometimes unexpected incidents can occur. If your shipment is damaged, lost, or delayed, recourse is available by filing a freight claim with the carrier. This allows you to seek financial compensation for any losses incurred.

A freight claim is a request under the law made by the shipper or consignee to the carrier seeking compensation for any loss or damage suffered by the shipment. The primary objective of filing a freight claim is to prompt the carrier to address the issue and fulfill their obligations as stated in the original bill of lading, thereby resolving the situation. FleetCare offers practical advice for quick issue resolution with freight claims.

Reasons for Freight Claims

There are several reasons why one might need to file a freight claim. Here are some of them:

  • Damage: This is the most common reason for freight claims. If a product arrives at the receiver with damage that was not present when it was shipped, it may qualify for a damage claim.
  • Loss: Loss occurs when a product that was loaded onto the carrier does not reach the intended receiver. It is relatively easy to substantiate this claim if proper documentation, such as the original bill of lading, is available.
  • Shortage: In logistics, human errors can occur, leading to goods shortages. This happens when the bill of lading contains errors regarding the total number of pallets, sacks, or pieces of product shipped with the carrier.
  • Concealed Damage: Concealed damage can be difficult to identify initially because the damaged or missing products are concealed under shrink wrap, boxes, or other coverings. Whether the products are in boxes or shrink-wrapped pallets, a thorough examination is necessary before signing the proof of delivery.

Freight Claims: Practical Advice for Quick Issue Resolution

Best Practices for Freight Claims

Impact of Delivery Truck Collisions with Poles or Buildings at Your Facility

The approach to handling the situation is similar to dealing with a car accident. Here’s what you should do:

  • Take immediate action: Act promptly to address the situation.
  • Obtain driver testimony: Gather a statement from the driver involved in the incident.
  • Report to the police: File an incident report with the police.
  • Capture photographic evidence: Take pictures of the damage caused by the incident.
  • Check for video footage: See if there is any video recording available that can support your case.
  • Prevent the driver from leaving: Ensure that the driver remains present until all the above steps are completed.

Quickly report the incident and provide evidence to ensure your ability to file a freight claim and receive compensation for damages. Similar to a car accident, your insurance provider requires proof of the incident and a determination of fault.

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    What to Do When You Receive a Damaged Shipment

    Potential causes of damage include water damage, crushing, contamination, and others. To ensure proper handling of freight, follow these steps:

    • Conduct a thorough inspection of the freight for any inconsistencies while the driver is at the site.
    • Immediately contact the seller to inform them about the observed damage.
    • Document the Bill of Lading (BOL) damage.
    • Ensure you sign the Bill of Lading (BOL) only after documenting any damages on the accompanying paperwork.
    • Capture clear photographs of the damage before the driver departs.
    • Provide the driver with a duplicate of the Bill of Lading (BOL), including the documented damages.

    Remember that signing the BOL without denoting damages implies acceptance of the freight in its current condition. Filing a freight claim after signing the BOL without documenting damages and faults makes it difficult for the insurance provider to determine the responsible party.

    Freight Claims: Practical Advice for Quick Issue Resolution

    Freight Claims Process

    If damage or loss requires a claim, the carrier is generally expected to be notified within 15 days. Claims should be filed within nine months. However, specific deadlines may vary depending on the carrier, mode of transport, and state laws and regulations.

    Here are the necessary steps to follow when submitting a claim:

    Immediately notify the carrier of the damage

    If damage is noticed upon receiving the shipment, it should be documented on the delivery receipt or proof of delivery.

    Collect evidence of the damage

    You need to prove that the product was shipped without damage and arrived in a damaged condition. Additionally, include the accurate monetary value of the loss. Note that the reimbursement amount may not be 100% of the value.

    Gather relevant documentation.

    Collect the following documents to support your claim:

    • Original purchase invoice
    • Proof of payment
    • Payment receipts and any other records related to the loss
    • Estimates or invoices for repairs to the damaged goods
    • Photographs taken at the time of delivery

    Resolving a freight claim may take several months, but being well-prepared increases the chances of a faster reimbursement and recovery of your losses.

    How to Avoid Freight Claim Headaches

    To minimize or avoid freight claims, you can take several essential steps, including effective packaging and consistent cargo tracking throughout the procedure.

    Here are tips for avoiding freight claims headaches:

    Package properly

    Ensure that your products are adequately packaged to minimize the risk of damage. This involves using sturdy boxes or crates, using protective materials like bubble wrap and packing peanuts, and ensuring the packaging is in good condition.

    Inspect before shipping

    Thoroughly inspect trailers before loading to identify broken floorboards, leaks, or protruding objects that could cause cargo damage during loading, unloading, or transportation. It is crucial to have clear labels on all shipments, accurately displaying the addresses and contact information.

    Freight Claims: Practical Advice for Quick Issue Resolution

    Leverage trailer seals

    Use trailer seals as a reliable means of protecting against cargo complaints. If the shipper provides a trailer seal, make sure to use it. It is advisable to carry a supply of trailer seals if the shipper does not provide one.

    Document discrepancies

    Document any discrepancies that arise and cannot be resolved on the shipping documents. Keep a camera on hand to capture any damage that could lead to a claim. Ideally, the shipper or consignee should acknowledge unresolved discrepancies in writing on the shipping documents. It is important to inform your company immediately before leaving the loading or unloading point, enabling all relevant parties to address the issues.

    Curate the loading and unloading

    The loading and unloading process whenever possible, taking responsibility for ensuring the satisfactory condition and correct quantity of the load. Proper loading techniques should be employed to prevent damage during transit and avoid penalties such as overweight tickets.

    Keep everyone informed

    Maintaining open communication with all involved parties is beneficial, allowing for necessary preparations and avoiding last-minute rushes that can detract from other tasks or procedures.

    Freight claims present challenges for all parties involved, making them an unavoidable aspect of the industry. However, they can be handled professionally. If you need help with freight claims, don’t hesitate to contact FleetCare.

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