Concealed Damage LTL Freight Claims
A concealed damage claim is much harder to prove, since no party other than the consignee was there to bear witness to the discovery of the damage. This leaves reasonable doubt as to who could be responsible. In all cases, report the damage to the carrier immediately after discovering the damages. The sooner it’s reported, the better chance there is of receiving a settlement offer.
With concealed damage claims where the carrier accepts liability for the damage, the carrier will typically only pay 1/3 of the amount claimed. They view this as there are 3 parties involved: the shipper, the carrier, and the consignee. The carrier will sometimes accept responsibility for 1/3 of the damage amount since it is one out of the three parties at potential fault. The shipper could have been responsible for the damage just as likely as the carrier and the consignee could have been, too. In extremely rare occasions there is significant evidence that the carrier is the sole responsible party for the entire damage. In those instances, the carrier is liable 100%. It is important to note that not all concealed damage claims are paid at 1/3 even when reported within 15 days of delivery.
Make sure you take note and keep record of who reported the damage, who was contacted and when they were notified. For cases of concealed damage, you really can’t have too much information. Make sure you let the carrier know what the shipment value is, and ask if they would like to perform an inspection. Save all the packaging from the unit in the event the carrier requests an inspection to be performed. Failure to save the packaging could result in denial of any settlement offer. Do not use the items, and it is generally good practice to keep from moving it as much as possible from where it was unloaded. Take pictures if possible, and include them in your claim filing paperwork to the carrier. Fill out a claim form and file it within the 15 day window for concealed damages.