Recent events have proven how critical the supply chain is to global commerce. Businesses and consumers rely on shippers to get goods to their destinations undamaged. Unfortunately, this does not always happen. There are many things that could happen between the time cargo leaves its origin until the time it reaches its destination. The rules of who must pay for damage to cargo at sea or on the road are not the most straightforward. Your business must have an experienced lawyer to fight for your interests if you have a possible legal claim regarding loss of or damage to goods moving in the supply chain, or if another party has a possible legal claim against you.
In a maritime subrogation claim, an insurer seeks payment from the party responsible for the loss. We perform subrogation reviews for insurers who must pay claims. Each case requires its own level of investigation to determine whether there is a viable third party to pursue that must pay for the loss. An experienced transportation attorney can get to the bottom of what happened to establish whether an insurance company can recover from another party for payment. We have helped clients recover money through our determination and understanding of transportation laws.
While marine insurance companies need to pay their policyholders’ claims, they do not need to pay the price for someone else’s negligence. Marine subrogation law has its own complexities because it combines principles of admiralty law and civil law. This is an area where you need an experienced lawyer who stays informed about the latest legal developments. It can make the difference in whether an insurance company can recover financially and how much it can get. At the David Toy Law Firm, we go the extra mile when determining whether an insurance company can recover from a third party, and our efforts have made the difference for clients on numerous occasions.
Claims Under the Carriage of Goods By Sea Act (COGSA)
The Claims Under the Carriage of Goods By Sea Act (COGSA) is a federal law that applies to cargo shipped to and from the United States. The law sets forth the rights of cargo owners and the possible liability of shippers. Cargo owners can file a lawsuit against a shipper under certain circumstances if there are losses stemming from shipping the cargo to its destination.
The shipper’s first obligation is to provide a seaworthy vessel that is properly equipped to deliver the cargo. It must also properly load, stow, and unload the cargo. COGSA does give the shipper certain immunities in designated scenarios, such as acts of war. Assuming that one of the immunities does not apply, the cargo owner must make the case that the shipper was negligent in order to receive financial compensation for damage to the cargo.
A shipper is not automatically liable if something is damaged in transit. The burden of proof is on the claimant to show that the shipper was at fault for the loss. We represent claimants and help them pursue damages for losses in shipping cargo.
Carmack Amendment Claims
The rules of liability are different when cargo is being shipped on land between states as compared to international maritime shipments. When it comes to land-based shipping, the laws are much more favorable to cargo owners. The federal Carmack Amendment provides one national uniform set of laws for domestic cargo shipments that applies instead of the laws of each individual state. When goods travel on land, they pass through multiple states. Without one national law, there would be significant uncertainty about what law applied.
Cargo owners only need to prove their goods were damaged in shipment to become eligible for financial compensation. If they are able to show this, the burden of proof switches to the shipper. The shipper must then prove they were not negligent in order to escape liability for damages. The shipper may also not be held liable when there was a natural disaster or an Act of God.
Carmack Amendment is the exclusive means for a cargo owner to be paid for damages to cargo traveling over land. These are not state law matters. However, a cargo owner has a limited amount of time to file a claim. They must make a claim to the shipper within nine months after the shipment was completed. If the shipper denies the claim, the cargo owner has two years to file a lawsuit.
At the David Toy Law Firm, we have experience working with shippers and cargo owners in claims for goods lost or damaged during shipment. Maritime and transportation law are complicated areas, and they have their own special rules. Legal claims in these areas of the law often involve complex liability issues and multi-faceted agreements. Both the roads and seas can be unpredictable places, and cargo often does not arrive in the same condition that it left in.
Call a Texas Maritime and Transportation Lawyer
If you have a potential maritime or transportation legal claim, we can evaluate it and help you pursue recovery for your damages. We also advise shippers on the legal risks they may face in the course of their everyday business operations. Call us at (713) 322-7911 or contact us online for help with your maritime and transportation law needs. We have more than two decades of experience successfully assisting clients with these dynamic areas of the law, and we are well-versed in recent legal developments that could impact your legal rights.