It’s everyone in the industry’s nightmare: the back of the truck opens, and product is squashed, tipped, or short. And yet, it’s a nightmare that can’t always be prevented (unlike those dreams you have of falling off the side of a cliff. Just don’t walk that close to the edge in real life). Freight damage happens, and when it does, you need to be prepared. You need to know how to file a claim.

Just to clarify: when you submit a claim, you are legally requesting that a carrier reimburse you for damage to or loss of products during shipping.

The first thing you should do when you realize product is missing or damaged is write that down when you sign for the delivery. This is super important because if you don’t list damages when you sign, you don’t have proof that it didn’t get damaged after delivery. Once you’ve done this, take pictures of the damaged product for documentation. Then you can begin the filing process.

What documents do I need when I go to file the claim?

  • freight claim form
  • original Bill of Lading
  • delivery receipt
  • product invoice
  • photos of damaged product

What information do I need when filling out the claim form?

  • shipment information (like the shipper’s number and the dates involved with the load)
  • the type of damage
  • the amount of the claim

Okay, you’ve got all the paperwork gathered for the claim, so what’s next? You’ll send this to the carrier and wait for them to either resolve or deny the claim.

Why would my claim get denied?

Carriers can deny the claim if they feel that it was not their fault, arguing that an exception such as a packaging error or an act of God applies. In these cases, in order to pursue the claim, you will have to take out a lawsuit and prove that the damage was, in fact, the fault of the carrier.

But what about insurance?

The carrier’s insurance should cover the cost of the claim in the case of an act of God (such as a natural disaster) or a mechanical breakdown, but the insurance will not cover driver error.

What can I do to prevent claims in the first place?

The most proactive thing you can do to prevent a claim is make sure your products are packaged properly. This includes ensuring that impact protection is within each box, not using already-damaged boxes, making sure the products are stacked correctly on each pallet, and shrink-wrapping the product. To correctly stack the products, distribute the weight evenly. You’ll also want to label each package so that the person moving them will know what’s contained within and how they should handle it.

Freight Claims with RTS

At RTS, when you file a claim, we will communicate throughout the claims process and do everything possible to get your money back whenever appropriate, so you never have to worry about the claim—or us—just disappearing. And because we have a thorough carrier setup vetting process (which you can read about here), we work with only the most reputable carriers, making claims more unlikely in the first place.

Operating since 2006, Reliable Transportation Solutions is a third-party logistics company with locations in Cincinnati, Ohio and Georgetown, Ohio. We offer unprecedented service, provided by an experienced sales support staff willing to go above and beyond our customers’ and drivers’ expectations. We provide 24-hour a day, 7-days a week availability to our customers and drivers, ensuring quick and on-time delivery in the continental United States, Canada, and Mexico.