Damaged Freight: How to Successfully File a Freight Claim

Shannon Pelky No Comments

Have you ever received a shipment of industrial products only to find out that several of them were damaged in shipping? Did you know what to do? The process can be tedious, but skipping any step can result in very costly mistakes when some—or all—of the liability could be placed back on you. Here are a few basic steps to help you successfully file a freight claim.

1. Inspect the shipment and document damages on the delivery receipt before signing

  • Check both the outside and the inside contents of the box for any damages.
  • If possible, take pictures while your shipment is still on the truck to limit your liability.
  • Note any damages on the delivery receipt. Then both you and the driver should sign the delivery receipt.

2. Submit a request to the carrier to inspect the damaged shipment

You are required to send a request to the carrier to inspect the damaged industrial products, and you will have to hold on to the product and the packaging until the inspection can be made.

3. Mitigate Damages 

Do not dispose of the damaged products until the claim is finalized. The carrier will typically want to inspect the damages, so you’ll want to keep them in the same condition as they were received.

4. Collect information and documentation for the freight claim form

Each carrier has their own claim form that you’ll be asked to fill out, but typically you’ll always include these documents with your claim:

  • Original shipment invoice
  • Copy of the delivery receipt
  • Copy of the original bill of lading
  • Proof of the product value
  • Invoices/estimates for repairs or replacements
  • Copies of request for inspection

Extra documentation you can include:

  • Photographic proof of damages (highly recommended)
  • Copy of the paid freight bill
  • Notification of loss
  • Inspection report (if complete)
  • Waiver of inspection by carrier
  • Cost breakdown of how losses were calculated (often already on the claim form)

5. For damages you didn’t note at the time of delivery, file your claim against the carrier as soon as possible and keep a copy for yourself

Concealed damages (damages not noted at the time of delivery) usually have to be filed within five days, otherwise claims have to be filled within nine months.

6. Check in with your carrier monthly

Remind your carrier of your claim at least once a month to help move the process along.

Again, it’s important to follow each of these steps and be very thorough in your documentation. Little mistakes can turn out to be very costly. Skip one step and some—or all—of the liability might be placed back on you. If you have more questions about how to handle industrial product shipping damages, please contact us today.

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