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Damaged Shipment & Freight Claims

A freight claim is a legal demand by a shipper or consignee to a carrier for financial reimbursement for the loss or damage of a shipment.

It is the customer's responsibility to file freight claims for damaged shipments. As the claims process can be long and complicated, CELINA will assist you through the claims processing procedure. If the shipment you receive arrives damaged, the following steps must be taken in order to facilitate a claim.

All damages must be reported to CELINA within 7 Days of receipt of shipment.

Filing a Freight Claim

Each carrier typically provides a form specifically for filing freight claims. No particular form is required by law, as long as the following four details are present:

 • The shipment must be specified
 • The loss or damage type must be specified
 • The total of the amount claimed must be specified
 • A clear demand for payment must be present

Information to identify the shipment may include the freight bill PRO #, the vehicle number, and the delivery date.

In addition to this basic information, the following documentation should also be provided:

 • Shipment invoice
 • Delivery receipt
 • Bill of lading
 • Invoice showing the value of the product being claimed
 • Invoices for costs incurred (i.e. repairs or replacements of the product)
 • Photos of every damaged piece

Additional supporting documentation may also be included or required.

Consignee (Customer) and Shipper (CELINA) Responsibilities

At the time of delivery, the consignee should examine the shipment for loss or damage. If there is evidence of loss or damage, the consignee should note it on the Bill of Lading/delivery receipt; this will be used as evidence to back up the claim. The consignee is still required to accept the shipment, even if there is evidence of loss or damage.

If the consignee signs off on the Bill of Lading/delivery receipt and discovers a claim later, then the burden of proof falls to the shipper or consignee to prove that the damage was in fact caused by the carrier as opposed to the shipper or consignee. When damage is not immediately recognizable, this is known as a concealed damage claim.

The shipper is required to pay the shipment invoice in full, regardless of whether or not the shipment was lost or damaged.

At that point, either the shipper or the consignee files a freight claim against the carrier for reimbursement.

Instructions for Damaged Shipments

As the Consignee, you MUST identify and document any cargo loss and/or freight damage carefully and thoroughly. There are two types of loss or damage:

1. Visible/Noted loss or damage
2. Concealed loss or damage

1 - Visible Loss or Damage

Visible loss or damage is apparent at the time of delivery. Noted means that a detailed description of the loss or damage was recorded on the carrier's delivery receipt or bill of lading and the customers copy at the time of delivery. Noted damaged on a packing slip will not be considered for the purpose of a claim.

1. Check each handling unit for visible signs of damage.
2. Open any shipment that shows signs of loss or damage while the driver is still present.
3. Examine the contents with the driver. Do not let a driver document damages for you. If a driver misses something on the delivery receipt and it is not listed you will not be able to recover losses on materials not listed. Truck drivers also do not know enough about our products to determine what is damaged and what is not.
4. Record in exact, detailed descriptions the results of the examination on both the driver's delivery receipt/bill of lading and your copy of the delivery receipt/bill of lading.

General terms such as "box damaged" or "subject to inspections" will not be considered as valid descriptions of damaged goods. Be as specific as possible about what is damaged.

An example of proper recording would be '(1) 14'4" pole DAMAGED/bent'.

An example of an improper notation would be '1 pole bent'.

The delivery driver must sign both the carrier's delivery receipt and your delivery receipt with the noted damages after the inspection is complete.

NOTE: If you discover damage after delivery and the delivery slip has no notation of damage or is signed for free and clear, it will be very difficult to obtain prompt and satisfactory settlement of your claim.

2 - Concealed Loss or Damage

Concealed loss or damage means that the loss of damage was not noticeable at the time of delivery. Because claims for concealed damage are very hard to recover, losses on customers should do a thorough inspection at the time of delivery.


At the time of delivery the consignee must:

1. Check the labels on all handling units to be certain the belong to you
2. Check for Shortages as the goods are being unloaded
3. Count the actual number of handling units

Customers should verify that every piece listed on the delivery receipt is present prior to signing for material. Note all discrepancies on the delivery receipt prior to signing, and have drivers sign verifying the shortage.

Mitigation of Loss

You cannot refuse to accept a shipment because it is damaged or partially short. When practical, the shipment should be accepted and all necessary steps should be taken to minimize the loss. A claim should then be filed for the depreciation, repair, or replacement of goods.

Reporting Concealed Loss or Damage

If concealed loss or damage is discovered after you have given the carrier a clear and signed delivery receipt or bill of lading, you must:

1. Notify the carrier within 48 hours of the delivery
2. Notification should be submitted in the form of a claim
3. Notify CELINA within 7 days of receipt of the product that there is a shortage or damage
4. Keep the shipment (containers and contents) in the same condition that they were in when the damage was discovered
5. Request an inspection by the carrier to have them confirm that loss or damage was a direct result of their negligence

Again, the burden of proof in a concealed loss or damage claim falls on the shipper/consignee. Additional factors that will be considered in a concealed damage claim include:

1. Retention and condition of the original containers
2. Adequacy of the packaging
3. Movement of the materials before carrier pick and or after delivery
4. Nature of the goods being shipped


Legally, as the owner of the freight, the consignee must do what he or she can to keep the loss to a minimum. The consignee can reduce the loss by keeping the damaged freight for a discounted price or having the good repaired. All salvage must be retained for disposition by the carrier until after the claim is settled. Failure to retain damaged freight will result in the claim being denied.