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Identification of the claimant. The claimant is the individual who carries the risk of loss in transit. Risk of loss is generally determined by the terms of sale. The claimant must present a properly documented claim to the responsible party, as defined in detail in the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 49 CFR Part 370.2

Identify the responsible party. The contract of carriage determines the party that is liable for the cargo loss and damage. This is typically the Bill of Lading (BOL), however, liability may be negotiated in other agreed-upon transportation contracts.

Document claim. The claimant should use a claim form3 that contains three elements, each of which is supported by documentation that will vary from claim to claim.


Responsible Party

Document Claim

  • Make a claim for payment of a specified or determinable amount of money. The claim form should contain an itemized breakdown of the specific dollar amount being claimed. Supporting documents include the commercial sales invoice, accounts payable credit reports, and inventory cost reports

  • Assert liability for the alleged loss, damage, or injury. The form should specify the type of alleged liability (loss, damage, or injury). Supporting documents include a signed BOL with delivery exceptions noted, inspection reports, temperature recordings, and law enforcement reports.

  • Present the facts that sufficiently identify the shipment. The form should contain shipping and delivery points, dates, and carrier reference numbers. Supporting documents include the BOL and a copy of the carrier’s freight bill.