Freight Claims Guide


Freight Claims Guide

Every now and then packages are delivered looking like they fell off a truck or entered a boxing match during transit. Or, a package may be missing in action. Accidents happen and third-party freight carriers are bound to make them. When this does happen, it is important to have a team that is educated on best practices for handling damaged freight and filing claims. I.D. Images is here to equip and support your team should they ever experience damaged, delayed or lost freight.

What kinds of freight claims are there?

Freight claims are filed when items arrive damaged, delayed or are lost in transit. The damage or loss that occurs while in transit violates the agreement with the freight carrier for transporting goods safely from Point A to Point B.

There are three different kinds of freight claims:

  • Damage (apparent and concealed)
  • Shortage or loss
  • Delay

My Shipment has arrived and is damaged or short. What do I do?

When shipments arrive damaged or short, receiving personnel is to note any damage or shortage on the delivery receipt, as well as if the freight is accepted or refused. It is important to share as much detail as possible on the delivery receipt/bill of lading about the damage including the date, number of damaged packages, and the signature of the driver acknowledging the damage or loss that has occurred. It is a good idea to keep a camera on hand to document the damage in the event that you need support for a future claim.


If you accept freight but suspect there may be damage to some of the packages and do not have time to fully inspect the shipment, note on the bill of lading “damage subject to inspection”.  If a freight claim is needed please reach out to our freight claim team at


All of the damaged packaging and product must be kept until the claim is processed by the carrier. Without the product and packaging, the claim will be denied by the carrier.


Helpful Tips:

  • If you suspect damage on a shipment but don’t have time to fully inspect the package before the driver leaves, you should note on the delivery receipt how many skids/cartons/packages appear damaged. Avoid writing “pending inspection” on the delivery ticket before the driver leaves, because this clears the delivery of damage.


  • If you later come to find concealed damage – damage discovered after the shipment has been received and was not noted- set the delivery aside and contact the carrier for inspection. Concealed damage needs to be reported to the freight carrier within 5 days of delivery unless otherwise mentioned by the carrier. If the carrier waves inspection, be sure to document the date, time, and individual’s name and title to include in your freight claim.


  • If you have freight that is damaged from freezing, note on the delivery receipt that “upon inspection” the material is damaged and the freeze indicators have been tripped.


When should a freight claim be filed?

The person filing the freight claim usually has up to nine months after the delivery to file a claim, but the sooner a claim is filed, the better. It’s best to proactively examine the shipment immediately rather than wait to open later, if possible. Waiting too long to file a claim for concealed damage increases the risk of the claim appearing illegitimate and being rejected by the carrier.


Who should file the claim?

As a courtesy to our customers, I.D. Images will file the freight claim, should you receive a delivery from I.D. Images that was damaged or lost in transit by the freight carrier. Please contact our freight claim team at to notify us of the damaged or lost freight and to begin the freight claim process.


What should be included in the claim?

When filing a freight claim, the shipper, consignee or owner of the freight is responsible for proving the freight was in good condition when the carrier picked it up. You are also responsible for proving which products or packages were short or damaged and determining the total expense of the loss.

The freight claim should include:

  • Original bill of lading or a certified copy
  • Original invoice displaying the value of goods from seller/manufacturer of the product
  • Copy of the proof of delivery notating delivery exceptions
  • Salvage value or damage allowance
  • Repair invoice (if applicable) from repairing organization
  • Photos of the damaged cartons/skids/etc. (if available)


Additional Key Notes

  • The receiving personnel is responsible for noting damage of freight, not the driver. If the driver does note the damage, be sure to review the notation to ensure the driver did not minimize the extent of the damage.
  • The carrier is responsible for:
    • Acknowledging a claim was filed within 30 days
    • Assigning a file number to the claim
    • Resolving the claim within 120 days (settle, decline, or pay)
    • Notifying the claimant in writing each 60-day period following an unresolved claim


Damaged or lost freight is an unfortunate aspect of doing business in a logistics-heavy industry. The key is to have procedures in place and trained staff to handle freight claims when needed. Knowledge is power and will help keep the process of handling freight claims pain-free and quick.


Have more questions about damaged freight or navigating claims?

Talk to one of our dedicated customer services representatives at 866-516-7300 or