Everything You Need to Know About Freight Claims

Damaged freight is every shipper’s worst nightmare. To make it worse, filing freight claims is a complex and frustrating process. There is a lot you need to know about what to document, what to file, and what the Carmack Amendment covers. Before you find yourself in this mess, it’s best to learn some of the basics. 

First, damaged freight isn’t the only type of freight claim you may encounter. You may also experience a shortage or a lost shipment all together. And then there’s the concealed claims – when the cargo damage or shortage is discovered after delivery and reported after the driver leaves. 

Under the Carmack Amendment, you have to establish that the goods in question were picked up in good condition, delivered in damaged condition, and resulted in a specific amount of damage. 

Once you’re able to prove that these requirements were met, the carrier is held liable unless it proves that it was not negligent and the cause of cargo damage was one of the following:  

  • Act of God  
  • Public enemy 
  • Act of default of shipper  
  • Public authority  
  • The inherent vice or nature of the goods 

If you have to file a claim, it’s best to do it as soon as possible. You typically will have 9 months from the delivery date, or only 5 days in the case of a concealed claim. You’ll want to have the Proof of Delivery (POD), the original Bill of Lading (BOL), freight bill, merchandise invoice, and replacement invoice or repair bill to support your claim. Taking pictures to include is also very helpful. 

The subject of freight claims is complicated, but that doesn’t mean you’re out of luck. PartnerShip®, the company that manages the IMA, has developed a helpful white paper that details everything you need to know about filing a freight claim. It also provides you with important information that will teach you how to package your shipments to avoid damaged freight, how to set procedures for accepting freight that protects you in the event you need to file a claim, and how to ensure your claim doesn’t get denied. 

Visit PartnerShip.com/FreightClaims to download the free white paper!  

For more information on the IMA Shipping Program, visit PartnerShip.com/IMA or call 800-599-2902.