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Moving Cargo: Liability and Loss Concerns

The United States is unique in its ability to provide services across its vast land via many routes over land, air, and sea. The shipping routes throughout the country are constantly in motion, with numerous entities working together toward one common goal – moving products from one place to another, without damage, in as little time as practicable. Because this transportation machine is constantly moving, it is important to understand how to recover if something goes wrong. For example, it is frustrating when a shipment is damaged or missing, but it would be devastating to the entire system if that one glitch caused the whole process to stop functioning. Laws governing the shipping and transporting of goods throughout the United States were created to handle these situations so that the parties involved can return to work as soon as possible.

Loss of Cargo

When a shipment of goods goes missing or is damaged during transport, the initial reaction for many may be to seek answers from the driver or operator of the vessel on which the goods were last loaded. What many people may not realize, however, is that this is often the person who has the least liability for the losses as they are typically not the person who loaded the cargo onto the vehicle at its point of origin. According to the regulations governing the transporting of goods, the driver of the vehicle (and his/her company) are typically responsible only for its safe operation. The person shipping the goods will likely be the one responsible for ensuring that the goods are safely loaded onto a trailer and sealed in so that any tampering will be evident at the time of delivery. In fact, it is likely better for the delivery company to not have its operator present while the trailer is loaded, as that may open the door to liability above that of the standard negligence principles that apply to the driver. 

Bring on the Holidays

With the holiday season fast approaching and black friday deals already being reported, the process of ensuring that stores are stocked with fully operational products begins with shipping companies. The key to a happy customer is one who makes their purchases without even knowing what went into delivering the products they want to buy. In order to achieve this level of pre-holiday bliss that leads to post-holiday profits, companies need to ensure that their products are packaged properly to minimize damage during delivery. According to one estimate, there are approximately “8 million packages that are either lost or damaged every year.” Cutting costs by cutting packaging may make sense in the short-term, but if a product cannot be shipped by reasonable means without suffering damage it is less likely to reach the shelves in a state that entices customers to buy it. 


If your company is gearing up for the holidays and has questions on how to mitigate potential losses from shipping errors, negligent drivers. or damage during delivery, contact the law office of Garcia & Gurney today. Our attorneys have extensive experience with all areas of transportation law, including shipping liability issues and can help your company ensure it recovers quickly from damage or loss.

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