LTL Freight & Concealed Damage Claim Settlements
Concealed damage is much harder to prove because there's reasonable doubt as to who's responsible for having caused the damage. Carriers can't simply take everyone's word that a shipment arrived with damage and can't return every concealed damage shipment back to the shipper free of charge. If they were to do that, they'd go out of business quickly. Let's face it: customers don't always tell the truth. The unfortunate issue with concealed damage is the fact that, unless someone accepts and/or admits responsibility for having caused the damage, it's virtually impossible to concretely determine exactly who was responsible for having caused the damage.
There’s no doubt that concealed damages happen and they are sometimes the fault of the carrier. Concealed damage also happens sometimes through no fault of the carrier, and it is sometimes a result of careless handling by another party involved with the handling of the shipment, either before or after the delivery has been made. In those instances, the carrier gets caught in the middle and is unjustly portrayed to be the bad guy. That’s why there is a claim investigation to help reasonably determine the party most likely at fault.
If it is determined the carrier could have been at fault, carriers will sometimes offer a settlement for a concealed damage claim. Generally speaking, the closer to the time of delivery that the damage is reported, the better the chance a claimant has of receiving some type of carrier settlement. Usually no more than 1/3 of the claimed amount is to be expected in a settlement from the carrier for concealed damages. The reasoning for 1/3 is that there are 3 parties involved: the shipper, the carrier and the consignee. Since fault by neither of the three parties can clearly be established, the carrier will accept responsibility (or pay) for 1/3 of the damage amount.