PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICES FOR THE INVESTIGATION AND VOLUNTARY
OF LOSS AND DAMAGE CLAIMS AND PROCESSING SALVAGE
§ 370.1 Applicability of regulations.
The regulations set forth in this part shall govern the processing of
claims for loss, damage, injury, or delay to property transported or
accepted for transportation, in interstate or foreign commerce, by each
motor carrier, water carrier, and freight forwarder (hereinafter called
carrier), subject to 49 U.S.C. subtitle IV, part B.
§ 370.3 Filing of claims.
(a) Compliance with regulations. A claim for loss or damage to baggage
or for loss, damage, injury, or delay to cargo, shall not be voluntarily
paid by a carrier unless filed, as provided in paragraph (b) of this
section, with the receiving or delivering carrier, or
carrier issuing the bill of lading, receipt, ticket, or baggage check,
or carrier on whose line the alleged loss, damage, injury, or delay occurred,
within the specified time limits applicable thereto and as otherwise
may be required by law, the terms of the bill of lading or other contract
of carriage, and all tariff provisions applicable thereto.
filing requirements. A written or electronic communication (when agreed
to by the carrier and shipper or receiver involved) from
a claimant, filed with a proper carrier within the time limits specified
in the bill of lading or contract of carriage or transportation and:
- Containing facts sufficient to identify the baggage or shipment
(or shipments) of property,
- Asserting liability for alleged loss, damage,
injury, or delay, and
- Making claim for the payment of a specified
or determinable amount of money, shall be considered as sufficient
compliance with the provisions
for filing claims embraced in the bill of lading or other
contract of carriage; Provided, however, That where claims are electronically
procedures are established to ensure reasonable carrier access
to supporting documents.
(c) Documents not constituting claims. Bad order reports,
appraisal reports of damage, notations of shortage or damage, or both,
on freight bills,
delivery receipts, or other documents, or inspection reports issued by
carriers or their inspection agencies, whether
the extent of loss or damage is indicated in dollars and cents or otherwise,
shall, standing alone, not be considered by carriers as sufficient to
comply with the minimum claim filing requirements specified in paragraph
(b) of this section.
(d) Claims filed for uncertain amounts. Whenever
a claim is presented against a proper carrier for an uncertain amount,
such as "$100
more or less," the carrier against whom such claim is filed shall
determine the condition of the baggage or shipment involved at the
time of delivery by it, if it was delivered, and shall ascertain as
as possible the extent, if any, of the loss or damage for which it
may be responsible. It shall not, however, voluntarily pay a claim
such circumstances unless and until a formal claim in writing for a
specified or determinable amount of money shall have been filed in
the provisions of paragraph (b) of this section. (e) Other claims.
If investigation of a claim develops that one or more other carriers
been presented with a similar claim on the same shipment, the carrier
investigating such claim shall communicate with each such other carrier
and, prior to any agreement entered into between or among them as to
the proper disposition of such claim or claims, shall
notify all claimants of the receipt of conflicting or overlapping claims
and shall require further substantiation, on the part of each claimant
of his/her title to the property involved or his/her right with respect
to such claim.
§ 370.5 Acknowledgment of claims.
(a) Each carrier shall, upon receipt in writing or by electronic transmission
of a proper claim in the manner and form described in the regulations
in the past, acknowledge the receipt of such claim in writing or electronically
to the claimant within 30 days after the date of its receipt by the
carrier unless the carrier shall have paid or declined such claim in
or electronically within 30 days of the receipt thereof. The carrier
shall indicate in its acknowledgment to the claimant what, if any,
additional documentary evidence or other pertinent information may
be required by
it further to process the claim as its preliminary examination of the
claim, as filed, may have revealed.
(b) The carrier shall at the time
each claim is received create a separate file and assign thereto a
successive claim file number and note that
number on all documents filed in support of the claim and all records
and correspondence with respect to the claim,
including the acknowledgment of receipt. At the time such claim is
received the carrier shall cause the date of receipt to be recorded
on the face
of the claim document and the date of receipt shall also appear in
the carrier's acknowledgment of receipt to the claimant. The carrier
also cause the claim file number to be noted on the shipping order,
if in its possession, and the delivery receipt, if any, covering such
unless the carrier has established an orderly and consistent internal
procedure for assuring:
- That all information contained in shipping
orders, delivery receipts, tally sheets, and all other pertinent
records made with respect to
the transportation of the shipment on which claim is made, is available
examination upon receipt of a claim;
- That all such records and
documents (or true and complete reproductions thereof) are in fact
examined in the course of the investigation
of the claim (and an appropriate record is made that such examination
fact taken place); and
- That such procedures prevent the duplicate
or otherwise unlawful payment of claims
§ 370.7 Investigation of claims.
(a) Prompt investigation required.
Each claim filed against a carrier in the manner prescribed in this part
shall be promptly and thoroughly
investigated if investigation has not already been made prior to receipt
of the claim.
(b) Supporting documents. When a necessary part of an
investigation, each claim shall be supported by the original bill of
of the freight charges, if any, and either the original invoice, a
photographic copy of the original invoice, or an exact copy thereof
or any extract
made there from, certified by the claimant to be true and correct with
respect to the property and value involved in the claim; or certification
of prices or values, with trade or other discounts, allowance, or deductions,
of any nature whatsoever and the terms thereof, or depreciation reflected
thereon; Provided, however, That where property involved in a claim
has not been invoiced to the consignee shown on the bill of lading
an invoice does not show price or value, or where the property involved
has been sold, or where the property has been transferred at bookkeeping
values only, the carrier shall, before voluntarily paying a claim,
require the claimant to establish the destination value in the quantity,
transported, or involved; Provided, further, That when supporting documents
are determined to be a necessary part of an investigation, the supporting
documents are retained by the carriers for possible FHWA inspection.
(c) Verification of loss. When an asserted claim for loss of an entire
package or an entire shipment cannot be otherwise authenticated upon
investigation, the carrier shall obtain from the consignee of the shipment
involved a certified statement in writing that the property for which
the claim is filed has not been received from any other source.
§ 370.9 Disposition of claims.
(a) Each carrier subject to 49 U.S.C.
subtitle IV, part B which receives a written or electronically transmitted
claim for loss or damage to
baggage or for loss, damage, injury, or delay to property transported shall
pay, decline, or make a firm compromise settlement offer in writing
to the claimant within 120 days after receipt of the claim by the
carrier; Provided, however, That, if the claim cannot be processed
of within 120 days after the receipt thereof, the carrier shall at
time and at the expiration of each succeeding 60-day period while
the claim remains pending, advise the claimant in writing or electronically
of the status of the claim and the reason for the delay in making
disposition thereof and it shall retain a copy of such advice to
the claimant in its claim file thereon.
(b) When settling a claim for
loss or damage, a common carrier by
motor vehicle of household goods as defined in § 375.1 (b)(1)
of this chapter shall use the replacement costs of the lost or damaged
as a base to apply a depreciation factor to arrive at the current
actual value of the lost or damaged item: Provided, That where an
be replaced or no suitable replacement is obtainable, the proper
measure of damages shall be the original costs, augmented by a factor
from a consumer price index, and adjusted downward by a factor depreciation
over average useful life.
§ 370.11 Processing of salvage
(a) Whenever baggage or material,
goods, or other property transported by a carrier subject to the
provisions in this part is damaged or alleged
to be damaged and is, as a consequence thereof, not delivered or
is rejected or refused upon tender there of if the owner, consignee,
or person entitled
to receive such property, the carrier, after giving due notice,
whenever practicable to do so, to the owner and other parties that
interest therein, and unless advised to the contrary after giving
such notice, shall undertake to sell or dispose of such property directly
or by the employment of a competent salvage agent. The carrier
shall only dispose of the property in a manner that will fairly and
protect the best interests of all persons having an interest therein.
The carrier shall make an itemized record sufficient to identify
property involved so as to be able to correlate it to the shipment
or transportation involved, and claim, if any, filed thereon. The carrier
also shall assign to each lot of such property a successive lot
number and note that lot number on its record of shipment and claim,
any claim is filed thereon.
(b) Whenever disposition of salvage material
or goods shall be made directly to an agent or employee of a carrier
or through a salvage
agent or company
in which the carrier or one or more of its directors, officers,
or managers has any interest, financial or otherwise, that carrier's
shall fully reflect the particulars of each such transaction
or both, as the case may be.
(c) Upon receipt of a claim on a
shipment on which salvage has been processed in the manner prescribed
in this section, the
its claim file thereon the lot number assigned, the amount
of money recovered, if any, from the disposition of such property,
date of transmittal
of such money to the person or persons lawfully entitled to
receive the same.