Steps to Filing a Successful Freight Claim
What is a Freight Claim?
A freight claim is defined as a legal request by a shipper or consignee to a carrier for financial reimbursement due to the loss or damage of a shipment. Freight claims can also be referred to as shipping claims, cargo claims, transportation claims, or loss and damage claims.
While filing a freight claim for damaged goods is not ideal, things happen and being prepared on how to resolve them is key. Below we’ve provided important information when it comes to successfully filing a freight claim. Follow these 6 steps to make sure you’re doing it correctly.
A claim for loss or damage to freight will not be voluntarily paid by a carrier. The proper documentation must be filed with the delivering carrier, the bill of lading, delivery receipt and the commercial vendor’s invoice.
Specified Time Limits
Filing Deadline: Nine Months – The contractual nine-month period for filing claims against the carrier is computed from the Bill of Lading. If freight is not delivered, then the deadline is computed from the Bill of Lading.
Concealed Damage Deadline: A clear delivery receipt that is not noted by the claimant for loss or damage. If five (5) business days, pass between the date of delivery of the shipment by the carrier and date of report of loss or damage that the claimant can provide evidence that it occurred prior to delivery.
Filing a Freight claim
- Know the carrier’s rules – request a copy of their rules (aka “tariff”) and maximum liability
- Determine the appropriate value to claim- a copy of the original invoice for the cost of goods, prior to mark-up will generally provide maximum value. Freight charges can be included in the claim value only if the product is purchased FOB shipping point
- Pay the freight invoice. Most carriers will not pay a claim until freight charges are paid
- Follow carrier’s filing procedures
Required Supporting Documents
- Evidence of carrier liability (carrier freight bill delivery receipt)
- Bill of Lading (BOL)
- Copy of the original invoice for the cost of goods, prior to mark-up
- Color photos
5. Follow-up and follow through. Be prepared to wait, to prove and to be flexible.
- Acknowledged claim – The carrier is required to notify the claimant in writing within 30 days of receipt of the claim. The notification is to include the number assigned by the carrier for the claim.
- Settlement of claim – The carrier is required to the claim within 120 days of receipt of the claim.
6. Salvage retention: Failure to retain all claimed freight, including parts and packaging for carrier disposition may result in claim denial.