Critical Shipping: What You Need to Know About Carrier Liability

You don’t have to worry.

When the heat is on and you’re waiting for a part, you may run through a million scenarios of what could go wrong.

While it’s true that accidents do happen, it’s worth repeating: You don’t have to worry!

There are measures in place to protect your critical shipment.

One of them is carrier liability.

Let’s take a look at what it is and what it means for you.

Carrier liability – what it is

The term means that a carrier is responsible for critical shipment losses, damages and delays.

This doesn’t include those that were the result of something the shipper did, an act of God, an act of public authority or an issue stemming from the inherent nature of the product being shipped.

In plain English? If the carrier caused it, they’re responsible. If not, they can’t be held liable.

The burden of proof falls on the shipper.

You must prove that the item was shipped in good condition and that it arrived damaged – or didn’t arrive at all.

Your claim has to be made within 30 days of the time the item arrived or when it was supposed to arrive.

The Carmack Amendment

This precursor to carrier liability was enacted in 1906.

The original purpose was to protect rail and water carriers but was changed to add motor carriers in 1935.

It was meant to put parameters in place for the rights, responsibilities and liabilities of freight shippers in the event of a loss.

Is liability the same as freight insurance?

The key difference is that freight insurance doesn’t require that the shipper prove that the carrier is at fault in a loss.

The insurance may be redeemable even if the loss or damage is the result of something outside the carrier’s control.

To make a claim on your freight insurance, you just have to prove that damage happened and show proof of the value of the product.

FTL and maximum liability

Maximum liability for full truckload (FTL) goods is $0.50 per pound, though it’s commonly closer to $0.10 per pound. (This is true for all freight shipped; air or ground.)

Additional insurance can be purchased if the maximum liability amount isn’t enough to cover your critical shipment.

What about the bill of lading?

In a situation where damage has occurred, the bill of lading is an important piece of the liability puzzle.

The notations at the time of pick up and delivery on this detailed list of goods being shipped tell a story about what may have happened to an item that was lost or damaged.

Clear and concise notations on the bill can serve as proof if your critical shipment is damaged.

Care for your critical shipment

When you’re in the hot seat, in need of an important piece of equipment that’s stalling production, you don’t have a lot of time to wait around.

You need to know that your shipment is on the way, that’s it’s going to arrive on time – and in good condition.

Carrier liability insurance can help to fill in the gaps and put your mind at ease, but it’s also important to work with a freight forwarding service that you can trust to have your back in an emergency.

Not only will they get your critical shipment where it needs to go, they can talk you through the ins and outs of liability coverage and what it means for you.