Filing freight claims correctly is great. Preventing them altogether is better.
I continue to be amazed by the number of unrecovered claims and the burden of proof required…not just the burden of documentation needed to file the claim, but the proof required to justify a change in SOPs (standard operating procedures) to stop the claims from happening in the first place.
An article in last month’s Logistics Management Magazine highlights that “Unrecovered claims have a direct impact upon the bottom line of a company—and the tougher the economic times and thinner the margins the greater the impact.” The piece continues to add that “Generally speaking, in order to prevail on a claim, the claimant has the initial burden of proving its claim. The claimant must prove good condition at origin, damaged condition at destination, and the amount of its damages. After establishing these three elements, the burden of defense shifts to the carrier.”
While a great article on transport law, what is still does not address is that a risk assessment, monitoring and training regimen integrated into a company’s SOPs could address the issue and can reduce or even eliminate the claims from happening in the first place. No claims, no burden of proof required. While easier said than done, an assessment may be all you need to determine what can be done and support your processes.
If you do need that burden of proof, data recorders and indicators can support the analysis to determine the carrier mode at the time of the incident and the time and possession of the shipment to assign accountability.
A few quick things to note about filing a claim:
- Assemble your supporting documentation as soon as possible.
- Timeliness to file is essential and may be unique either by contract or carriers tariff conditions (so get to know your carriers).
- Make sure you file with the insurance carrier rather than the transport carrier.
What have you done to reduce your damage related claims?