Cargo Loss and Damage Claims
Introduction Back to Top
On the following pages, you will find information about:
- Cargo loss and damage prevention
- Documentation and verification of loss or damage
- Filing cargo claims
If you need more information concerning a specific claim, prevention or administration problem, please contact your Pacific Logistics sales representative or terminal office.
Shipper Responsibilities Back to Top
A number of variables can affect your shipment during transportation:
- The number, size, and shape of other shipments traveling with it
- Road conditions
- The weather
- Warehousing conditions
- Special loading and/or handling requirements
To prevent loss and damage, all of these variables must be considered when a product, its packaging, and its package markings are designed.
As the shipper, you must be responsible for:
- Proper packaging
- Proper markings on the packaging
- Proper description on the shipping papers
- All existing tariff and shipping regulations related to your product must be followed
If you have a packaging problem, notify your Pacific Logistics sales representative. He or she has experts available to assist you.
You are a valued customer. By combining your manufacturing and packaging expertise with our experience in transportation, we can develop a program to correct or prevent loss and/or damage problems.
Consignee Responsibilities Back to Top
As the consignee, you must identify and document loss and/or damage carefully.
There are two types of loss or damage:
- Visible or noted loss or damage
- Concealed loss or damage
Visible or Noted Loss or Damage Back to Top
When loss or damage is visible at the time of delivery, it must be noted on the delivery receipt. Be as specific as possible when explaining the visible damage.
At the time of delivery, you must:
- Check each handling unit for visible signs of damage
- Open any shipments that show signs of loss or damage while the driver is still present (After shipment has been signed for) In the case of COD shipments, the consignee must first take ownership of the goods by giving the check to our driver
- Call our office and request an inspection. (At this time we will decide whether to have you inspect with our driver present or send out a trained inspector)
- Record an exact, detailed description of the results of the examination on both the Pacific Logistics’ and the consignee’s copies of the delivery receipt
Do not use general or generic terms ("box damaged," etc.) in the description; they do not provide acceptable support for your claim. Record specific details such as, "Hole in left side of box" or "box crushed with contents exposed"
- Have the driver sign the consignee’s copy of the delivery receipt
Note: Courts have generally ruled that a consignee may not open the containers and examine the merchandise before giving a receipt to the carrier.
Note: If you discover damage after delivery and the delivery receipt has a vague notation or no notation, you may find it more difficult to obtain prompt and satisfactory settlement of your claim.
Shortages Back to Top
At the time of delivery, you must:
- Check the labels on all of the pieces to ensure they are yours
- Check for shortages as goods are being unloaded
- Count the actual number of handling units
Keep the shipment together until unloading is completed, in case a recount is necessary.
If there is a shortage, describe it in exact terms on both the Pacific Logistics and the consignee’s copies of the delivery receipt before signing for the shipment.
Mitigation of Loss Back to Top
You cannot refuse to accept a shipment just because it is damaged or partially short. When practical, the shipment should be accepted, and all necessary steps should be taken to minimize the loss. A claim can then be filed for depreciation, repair costs, or replacement of short goods, but not for loss of marketability.
Concealed Loss or Damage Back to Top
Concealed loss or damage means that the loss or damage was not noticeable at the time of delivery. If concealed loss or damage is discovered after you have given Pacific Logistics a clear delivery receipt, you must:
- Notify Pacific Logistics immediately. Notification can be given by telephone, but the telephone call must be followed up by written notification.
- Keep the shipment (containers and contents) in the same condition that they were in when the damage was discovered. You cannot remove any portion of the undamaged product for sale or processing.
Inspection by Pacific Logistics Back to Top
Pacific Logistics must inspect the shipment within 72 hours and give you a copy of the Inspection Report for claim support. Include a copy of the Inspection Report when you file your claim.
Failure to Inspect Back to Top
If Pacific Logistics fails to inspect the freight:
- Inspect the damage yourself and record all relevant facts.
- Include this information when you file your claim.
Burden of Proof Back to Top
In a concealed damage claim, you have the burden of proof. You must prove that the damage was caused by Pacific Logistics, not other parties who handled the goods.
Additional Factors in a Concealed Damage Claim Back to Top
The following factors are also considered in a concealed damage claim:
- Nature of the goods
- Was shipment packaged properly?
- Movement and handling before pickup or after delivery
- Retention and condition of the original containers
Salvage Back to Top
Legally, as the owner of the freight, you must do what you can to keep the loss to a minimum. You can reduce the loss by keeping damaged freight for a discounted price or having the goods repaired. Reducing the loss will expedite settlement of your claim.
If the shipment is a total loss, call the Pacific Logistics claims department at 562-478-4700 or your local operations contact for disposition or assistance. Any salvage must be retained for Pacific Logistics disposition until after the claim is settled.
Loss & Damage Claim Filing Requirements Back to Top
Pacific Logistics realizes that a lost or damaged shipment causes inconvenience to you and your customers. We will make every attempt to settle your claim promptly and efficiently. You can help by meeting the following requirements.
Time Limits Back to Top
The bill of lading contract specifies that the claim must be received by Pacific Logistics within 9 months from the delivery of property or, in the case of non-delivery, within 9 months from the scheduled delivery.
All claims for concealed damage must be made within 24 hours of delivery. All packaging material must be kept for inspection. Any concealed damage claim not meeting the above conditions will not be honored. Should you experience what you believe is concealed damage, immediately contact our office to determine if an inspection is warranted. Be certain to note the date, time and person you speak with.
Filing of Claims Back to Top
- All claims must be filed in writing. A claim for loss, damage or delay to cargo will not be voluntarily paid by a carrier unless filed in writing, as provided in subparagraph (b) below, with the receiving or delivering carrier, or carrier issuing the bill of lading, receipt, ticket, or baggage check, or carrier on whose line the alleged loss, damage, injury, or delay occurred, within the specified time limits applicable thereto and as otherwise may be required by law, the terms of the bill of lading or other contract of carriage, and all tariff provisions applicable thereto.
- Minimum filing requirements. A communication in writing from a claimant, filed with a proper carrier within the time limits specified in the bill of lading or contract of carriage or transportation, and (1) containing facts sufficient to identify the baggage or shipment (or shipments) of property involved, (2) asserting liability for alleged loss, damage, injury, or delay, and (3) making claim for the payment of a specified or determinable amount of money will be considered as sufficient.
Concealed Damage Back to Top
When damage to contents of a shipping container is discovered by the consignee which could not have been determined at time of delivery, it must be reported by the consignee to the delivering carrier within 24 hours and a request for inspection by the carrier’s representative made. Notice of loss or damage and request for inspection may be given by telephone or in person, but in either event must be confirmed in writing by mail. While awaiting inspection by carrier, the consignee must hold the shipping container and its contents in the same condition they were in when damage was discovered insofar as it is possible to do so.
Inspection by Carrier Back to Top
Inspection by carrier will be made as promptly as possible and practical after receipt of request by consignee. Inspection will be made within three normal workdays (72 hours) after receipt of request from consignee, excluding Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. A day will be considered as the passing of twenty-four (24) hours from 9 a.m., local time from the date of receipt of request for inspection. Inspection by carrier will include examination of the damaged merchandise, the shipping container, and any other action necessary to establish all facts. If a shortage is involved, inspector will check contents of package with invoice, weigh the shipping container and contents, or conduct any other type of investigation necessary to establish that a loss has occurred. In either case, inspection will be limited to factual report. Consignee must cooperate with carrier in every way possible to assist in the inspection. A written record of carrier’s findings will be made at least in duplicate. The original of the report will be given to the consignee for claim support. Any inspection report issued must be incorporated in claim file.
Failure to Inspect Back to Top
In the event carrier does not make an inspection, the consignee must make the inspection and record all information to the best of his ability pertinent to the cause. Consignee’s inspection, in such case, will be considered as the carrier’s inspection and will not jeopardize any recovery the consignee is due based on the facts contained in the report.
Salvage Retention Back to Top
When visible or open damage to shipment has been established by notation having been given at time of delivery, or concealed damage established by inspection report, it is the duty of the consignee to retain damaged merchandise and shipping container until carrier desires to take possession of merchandise as salvage. If record conclusively reflects carrier liability, carrier will take possession of the damaged merchandise as soon as possible and in any event, within thirty (30) days from the date shipment was noted damaged on carrier delivery receipt or from date of inspection report, if damage was concealed. If carrier does not take possession of the damaged merchandise within the time prescribed above, consignee must contact delivering carrier and request removal of goods from his premises within fifteen (15) days from the date of such communication. The above applies only when the carrier and consignee agree that the carrier will handle disposition of the salvage, and does not in any manner affect the legal duty that the consignee, when there is substantial value in the salvage, must accept and handle if possible. If there is doubt of carrier liability, the carrier will so advise consignee; in which event the consignee may hold the merchandise until liability of carrier is determined, or may dispose of it so as to mitigate the damage, and may file claim for such damage. Carrier will remove the damaged goods within fifteen (15) day period or advise consignee that carrier liability is in doubt and that damaged merchandise is to be retained by the consignee until carrier has completed investigation of claim.
Prior Transportation Back to Top
If a concealed damage inspection report covers merchandise which has had prior transportation movement, consignee is required to assist carrier in determining if shipment was opened and inspected by shipper prior to reshipment, and if not, shall then assist carrier in every way possible to establish record of prior transportation.