Freight Claims For Noted Damage ShipmentsWritten by Neal Willis
For damage claims where the item was accepted but noted as having damage, call the terminal and notify the carrier that you will be filing a damage claim. Take note of who you spoke with, as you may need to reference them later. An email works, too, if you have a contact. Ask them if they would like to perform an inspection. They will need to know the value of the item and the contact information of someone for scheduling an inspection should they desire to perform one. Sometimes when a shipment is valued at less than a thousand dollars, the carriers will waive their right to an inspection due to costs associated with the third party inspection.
Extremely Important: Until the claim is settled, save the entire packaging from the shipment. Failure to save the packaging may result in denial of a full settlement, since the inspector will not be able to clearly determine if the damages were in any way a result of poor or insufficient packaging per the NMFC guidelines. If the inspection is waived, save confirmation of it being waived from the carrier.
Keep the freight until the claim is settled. Do not use the items until the claim is settled and try to move it as little as possible from where it was delivered. If it is necessary to move the freight to another location other than the delivery destination, do not do so unless you obtain written approval from the carrier. If you move it without obtaining permission from the carrier, you could jeopardize your chances of a claim settlement as the carrier could point to you as a source of the damage, since you moved the freight, too.
Keep in mind that it is the duty of a shipper to mitigate the costs of a claim to the least amount possible. Therefore, the manufacturer or shipper will often times need to be contacted and a return authorization number obtained for returning the freight, so they can assess the item(s) to determine the true cost of the damage (repair costs). Before obtaining the return authorization number and sending the freight back, you should ask the manufacturer if they have an authorized field technician, service rep or other qualified repair person in your area they could send to you for inspection and assessment. If they don’t have anyone in the area, you can then proceed with obtaining the return authorization information and sending the freight back to them for assessment.
Once the damage has been assessed, you can determine what amount you will need to file for in your claim filing. If the damage has rendered the freight a total loss or costs more to repair than the invoice amount, you should file for full value. If repair costs (damage) is less than the full invoice amount, you should have the necessary repairs performed and file for the costs of repairs. If you are not sure of the actual damage amount at the time of filing, you may put in the full invoice amount and amend the claimed amount later, if necessary.
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