Common LTL Freight Damage Claim Questions
It is important to keep in mind that each claim is different and involves different circumstances, so not all of the below information will apply for every claim.
WHO FILES THE CLAIM?
Typically, the payer of the freight bill can only be reimbursed for the freight charges, so they are usually the ones to file a claim. Anyone can file a claim, however, but this is usually the simplest way to do it.
HOW LONG DO YOU HAVE TO FILE A CLAIM?
The answer to this depends on the type of claim being filed. There are generally two types of damage claims: Noted Damage and Concealed Damage. The difference between the two is that noted/visible damage claims were noted at the time of delivery, usually on the delivery receipt, and concealed damages were not.
Concealed damages must be reported to the carrier within 15 days of delivery. Anything reported past the 15 day window will not be considered for a settlement and will be denied for filing too late. A claim for noted/visible damage may be filed for up to 9 months after the delivery date. Any later than that and it will be denied.
WHAT DOCUMENTS ARE NEEDED WITH A CLAIM FILING?
A few documents to include with your claim filing, if available at the time of filing, include: a copy of the delivery receipt, copy of the bill of lading, any pictures you might have of the damage, a copy of the invoice, and proof of any correspondence with the carrier acknowledging fault. Before any money or settlement is formally offered by the carrier, they must be supplied with a copy of the actual invoice or repair cost/estimate for the damage. A purchase order will not suffice.
If there is any other information that you feel is relevant to the claim, include it with the claim filing. Keep records of when the claim was sent in and of any correspondence with the carrier. Do not let the lack of a document prevent you from filing a claim within the filing deadline. You can always submit additional paperwork after the initial claim filing and amend the claim as necessary.
WHAT HAPPENS ONCE THE CLAIM IS SUBMITTED?
After the carrier receives all of the paperwork in the claim filing, they will typically send you a response in writing somewhere between 30 - 45 days with their initial findings and decision. It is important to note, however, that the carrier does have up to 120 days to notify you of their decision, and even longer in some cases, depending on the nature of the claim. If you receive the carrier’s decision and aren't satisfied with their findings, then you may appeal the decision in writing. If a claim is approved for settlement, the carrier has the right in some cases to request and pick up the damaged units for salvage.