Freight Charges Involved With A Damage ClaimWritten by Neal Willis
Freight charges for a damaged shipment are eligible to be recouped as a part of a freight claim settlement. It is important to note, however, that the freight charges must be paid before the claim can be settled, even if the whole shipment is damaged and the entire freight bill is going to be refunded. Anyone can file a claim; however, the payer of the freight bill is the only party that can be reimbursed for the freight charges. Carriers will sometimes overlook that, depending on the shipper and the circumstances, but that is why the payer of the freight bill is normally the party that files a freight claim.
Only the freight charges for the amount of product that was actually damaged are legitimately recoverable. If the entire shipment is damaged, then the entire freight bill could potentially be recovered. Therefore, in order to determine what portion of the freight charges are eligible for reimbursement, you must first determine what portion in relation to overall shipment weight (in pounds) was actually damaged.
For example, a shipment is received and noted as being damaged, because it came in with the shrink wrap torn and the packaging punctured on each individual pallet. The freight bill for the shipment totaled $500, and the shipment consisted of 5 skids weighing 400 lbs. each for a total shipment weight of 2,000 lbs.
Upon further investigation, after opening and thoroughly inspecting the items on each pallet, it is determined that only the contents on 1 of the 5 skids was actually damaged, but the entire contents of that 400 lb. skid was deemed to be a total loss. Since only 20% of the shipment was damaged (400 lbs. out of the total 2,000 lbs.), should the carrier be found liable for the damages, only 20% ($100) of the total original freight bill ($500) would be reimbursable.
Depending on the value of the claim, it may have to go through carrier management for review and/or approval, and you may be asked to provide product spec sheets showing the weight of the product(s) being claimed, so they can verify the proportionate amount of freight charges being claimed. Often with higher valued claims ($1,000 +), carrier claims examiners must have management approval of a settlement offer. Naturally, that means the claim will take longer to resolve, since there are more people involved with the process, and it’s important to note that along with every freight claim comes a different set of circumstances.
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