Freight Claims | GoShip: Online Shipping Platform

How to File an Accurate Freight Claim

Posted on:
Jun 03, 2020

Filing a freight claim can be a daunting process. To ensure your claim is handled efficiently and accurately, it’s important to understand the freight claims process.

In this blog post, we’ll go over the steps for filing an accurate freight claim to ensure you’re getting the compensation you deserve.  

What is a freight claim?   

A freight claim is a legal demand made by a shipper or consignee to the carrier to receive compensation for cargo that has been damaged or is missing. This type of claim is also known as a cargo claim. Freight claims can be filed by either the shipper or the receiver. The shipper will usually file the claim in cases of visible damage, while the receiver may file the claim regarding concealed damage.

There are two types of freight claims:

  • Visible damage
  • And concealed damage claims  

Visible damage claims occur when there is physical damage to the shipment, such as broken packages, torn wrapping paper, or any other type of obvious damage that is apparent upon delivery.

When this occurs, the carrier must pay the repair costs and other expenses related to the claim.   

Concealed damage claims involve any damages that were not visible during delivery but later became apparent, such as hidden water damage or incorrect quantities received. In these cases, the shipper or consignee must prove that the damages occurred while in transit with the carrier.

They can be compensated for repair costs and related expenses if successful.   

It’s important to remember that filing a freight claim requires proof of damages and other supporting documents, such as:

  • Repair estimates
  • And proof of value

With this evidence, you can ensure that your freight claim is accurate and effective.  

Check for Visible Damage  

When filing a freight claim, the first step is to check for any visible damage or shortage in the cargo.

Depending on who files the freight claim – whether the shipper or receiver – the responsibility of checking for visible damage falls upon either one. Inspecting the shipment before signing off any delivery receipts is essential to ensure no damage to the cargo.

In the event of visible damage or shortage, the shipper or consignee should demand a legal demand from the carrier.  

Visible damage or shortage claims are considered the most common type of freight claim and are fairly straightforward. The shipper or receiver should document all visible damage by taking pictures, video recordings, and even written descriptions as proof for their freight claim. This documentation will be required when filing a demand for reimbursement from the carrier in case of a successful claim.

It is important to thoroughly inspect all aspects of the cargo to detect even minor damages, as these may be useful in a filing.  

Take Pictures  

Taking pictures is an essential part of filing a freight claim. The photographs will help document any damage or shortage and provide evidence for the shipper or consignee in case of a legal demand. Depending on the situation, pictures should be taken by either the shipper or the receiver.  

If the shipment has visible damage, then photographs should be taken of each damaged cargo before it is offloaded. This is especially important in cases of concealed damage, where damage may not be immediately noticed but can be seen upon closer inspection of the cargo.

In addition, if the shipment includes pallets, take pictures of them before they are removed, as they may contain hidden damages.   

Pictures should also be taken of any shortage or incorrect items that are delivered.

This will help ensure that any shortage claims are processed correctly. Pictures should also be taken when the cargo is unloaded from the truck or other delivery vehicle, as this will show that everything was handled properly during transit.  

When taking photos for a freight claim, make sure to capture close-up shots and wide-angle images showing the general area. Pictures should be taken from multiple angles, if possible, with a scale or ruler included in the photo to accurately represent the size and quantity of items.   

By following these steps, you can ensure that all freight claims are accurately documented and processed. With good record-keeping and sufficient photographic evidence, you can minimize disputes and ensure that your claim is handled promptly.  

Get a Repair Estimate  

If your freight shipment has suffered any damage or shortage, the next step is obtaining a repair estimate. The cost of the repair estimate may be necessary to support a claim for damages against the carrier.

Depending on who files the freight claim—the shipper or the receiver—will determine who pays for the repair estimate.   

A shipper or consignee may demand a repair estimate if they file a claim for concealed damage or shortage.

It is important to note that, legally, you can only demand a repair estimate if it is necessary to support your cargo claim. In this case, there must be visible damage, and the repair estimate must be an estimated amount required to restore the goods to their original condition.   

You may also require a repair estimate if you are making a legal demand by a shipper.

This is because when you make a claim, you must prove that the damage was caused by the carrier, not by other external forces. With a repair estimate, you can determine exactly how much damage was done and how much it will cost to fix.   

There are several different types of freight claims that you may encounter, and it is important to know which type of claim you need to file. For example, if you file a claim for visible damage, you may not need a repair estimate. 

However, if you are filing a claim for concealed damage or shortage, you will need a repair estimate to make your case against the carrier.   

Getting an accurate repair estimate is essential for supporting your freight claim and ensuring that you receive fair compensation for the damages that were done. Suppose you are unsure how to get an accurate repair estimate or properly file a freight claim.

In that case, it is recommended that you seek professional legal advice from an experienced attorney specializing in cargo claims.  

What documents do you need for a freight claim?   

When filing a freight claim, it is important to provide the necessary documentation. Depending on the situation, different types of documentation may be needed to prove that damage or shortage has occurred.   

Who files the freight claim typically depends on whether the damage was visible or concealed. The receiver or consignee will usually file the claim if there is visible damage. On the other hand, if there is concealed damage, the shipper typically files the claim.  

The most common documents required when filing a freight claim include a legal demand by a shipper or receiver, a cargo claim form, and proof of damage or shortage, such as pictures and/or estimates for repair. These documents must be provided for the claim to be processed properly.   

There are different types of freight claims depending on the situation. For instance, an emergency claim is used if the goods need to be replaced immediately due to urgent situations. A delayed shipment claim is used when the delivery of goods was not made on time, while a cargo shortage claim is used if goods were lost during transit.

Additionally, damages are filed when goods have been damaged during transport, and coverage claims are made when goods were covered by insurance.   

It is important to provide all necessary documents when filing a freight claim. Without these documents, the claim will be rejected or denied, and you may not receive compensation for the damage or shortage.  

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