Trailer damaged by Receiver - Refusing to pay for repairs

jonny-chicken

Site Supporter
20
Hello All,

Looking for some opinions on a matter I am dealing with and also a warning to carriers about handling equipment damage claims.

Our trailer has a rolling tarp system on it and we usually roll it all forward and out of the way to be loaded/unloaded, but on this particular delivery the receiver wanted the kit left closed and instead wanted to unload by driving a forklift onto the trailer.

The rear door of the trailer is a roll-up made of the same tarp material as the rest of the tarp kit.

After unloading 4 of the 5 pieces without problem, the forklift driver went back into our trailer for the 5th piece and when he backed out his forklift caught the edge of the rolled-up door and he proceeded to continue driving the forklift until the rear door was in shreds.

The receivers then said it was my driver's fault and tried to kick him off the property with no documentation or acknowledgement of the damage they had caused.

Apparently, they believe that the door should have been rolled up better so the forklift driver wouldn't have hit it.

Personally, I would think if the forklift driver could see an obstruction they should have it moved, not drive through it and blame someone else. If they didn't see an obstruction, then they weren't looking where they were driving.

Our driver refused to leave without an incident report and with help from our office staff getting people at the receiver on the phone, we were able to get the incident report and the driver left.

The receiver has since ignored every attempt we have made in the past nearly 2 weeks to contact him to discuss the damage and have them pay for the repairs.

I approached the load broker that gave us the load, and their response was surprising to say the least... The load broker would also like to blame our driver for the handy work of the forklift operator at his customer.
 

jonny-chicken

Site Supporter
20
Reader’s Digest version…

  • Forklift operator at receiver hit rear roll-up door on our trailer causing damage

  • Forklift operator blames our driver

  • Receiver ignores all contact about damage claim

  • Load broker blames truck driver for Forklift operator’s mistake
 

jonny-chicken

Site Supporter
20
Since the Receiver refused all contact and the load broker was of no help, we decided to go the small claims route.

As part of my standard procedures for taking a company to court, I always like to reach out to a senior manager or executive at the company to ensure that I have the company's official position on the matter.

So I looked up the contact info for the President of the receiver company and reached out to him by email.

In less than an hour I heard back from the President of the company directly. He was apologetic that we had a negative experience at his plant and put his Vice President on the job to look into it right away.

I found his response to be a breath of fresh air, compared to the poor attitudes of those working in receiving. He seemed very professional and left me with the feeling that I may in fact get this resolved to satisfaction.

The warning is this... Don't take the shipper/receiver or load brokers word as the final one. Always take it to the top if you feel you are right and can back yourself up with proof.
 

tasuinam

Active Member
15
Since the Receiver refused all contact and the load broker was of no help, we decided to go the small claims route.

As part of my standard procedures for taking a company to court, I always like to reach out to a senior manager or executive at the company to ensure that I have the company's official position on the matter.

So I looked up the contact info for the President of the receiver company and reached out to him by email.

In less than an hour I heard back from the President of the company directly. He was apologetic that we had a negative experience at his plant and put his Vice President on the job to look into it right away.

I found his response to be a breath of fresh air, compared to the poor attitudes of those working in receiving. He seemed very professional and left me with the feeling that I may in fact get this resolved to satisfaction.

The warning is this... Don't take the shipper/receiver or load brokers word as the final one. Always take it to the top if you feel you are right and can back yourself up with proof.
good luck - please update on how this plays out - and I hope you get your claim paid out ASAP
 

loaders

Site Supporter
30
A tough situation to be in. One I am sure we have all experienced. I don't want to ruffle any feathers, but what exactly did you think the load broker could have, or should have done? Agreed, he could have been more sympathetic to your position and more open minded about where the fault actually lay, maybe even reaching out to his client to facilitate some dialogue between the two of you, but besides that....what? He doesn't own the freight, he doesn't employ the forklift operator, the truck doesn't belong to him and the truck driver reports to someone else. I sincerely hope that you get reimbursed for your trailer damage and from the sounds of it, you probably will. In this case,the broker should have taken a more active role in getting you in touch with someone of authority at the shipper.
 

jonny-chicken

Site Supporter
20
A tough situation to be in. One I am sure we have all experienced. I don't want to ruffle any feathers, but what exactly did you think the load broker could have, or should have done? Agreed, he could have been more sympathetic to your position and more open minded about where the fault actually lay, maybe even reaching out to his client to facilitate some dialogue between the two of you, but besides that....what? He doesn't own the freight, he doesn't employ the forklift operator, the truck doesn't belong to him and the truck driver reports to someone else. I sincerely hope that you get reimbursed for your trailer damage and from the sounds of it, you probably will. In this case,the broker should have taken a more active role in getting you in touch with someone of authority at the shipper.

Hey Loaders, thanks for your input. I value it and I agree with you.

To be clear, I really didn't expect much from the load broker. I was actually just notifying them as a courtesy that there was an issue with the delivery so they would be aware and would understand why I was contacting their customer. I thought they should be made aware.

I guess all I expected from the load broker was for him to say, Ok, thanks for keeping me aware of what happened at the delivery and let me know how this all turns out. And maybe, as you suggested, it would have been nice for them to put me in touch with someone at his customer that I could discuss the claim with.
 

jonny-chicken

Site Supporter
20
My response is the usual from a Broker is "you cannot contact my customer" but as soon as there is a claim "there is nothing I can do I'm just a load broker". What is that old saying "you can't have your cake and eat it too".

True...

But, in my mind, there is really nothing that should stop me from contacting a shipper/receiver to discuss a damage claim, whether the load broker likes it or not.

I'm not calling to solicit their business... I'm calling to discuss damage they caused.

As I did in this case, I would just notify the broker that a problem has come up and I will be contacting their customer to resolve it.
 

lowmiler88

Site Supporter
30
True...

But, in my mind, there is really nothing that should stop me from contacting a shipper/receiver to discuss a damage claim, whether the load broker likes it or not.

I'm not calling to solicit their business... I'm calling to discuss damage they caused.

As I did in this case, I would just notify the broker that a problem has come up and I will be contacting their customer to resolve it.

Johnny what the load broker should do is get the right people talking to get the situation resolved properly and that is really all they can do. Keep an eye on the situation and do what they can to make everyone happy which might be nothing but they should have an interest in the situation.
 

jonny-chicken

Site Supporter
20
Johnny what the load broker should do is get the right people talking to get the situation resolved properly and that is really all they can do. Keep an eye on the situation and do what they can to make everyone happy which might be nothing but they should have an interest in the situation.

That sounds about right to me sir...
 

Michael Ludwig

Well-Known Member
20
Im pretty sure a carrier can technically make damage claims against a brokers insurance - but im just a kid so what do i know
While a noble thought indeed ... what load brokers carry insurance for such an event?
What would that policy even be called?
How would they even administer it?
It would be a nightmare !!!

@TRKINSURE can correct me if I am wrong on the following ...
I am 99.9% certain such a policy does not exist. Even if it did exist I am 100% certain no load broker would buy it. The cost would make carrier's insurance look like chump change and/or the policy would be so narrow in scope that it would cover almost nothing.
For all intents and purposes such a claim is a PL&PD claim and it would be handled through your auto policy, not your cargo policy.
In these types of incidents, where the shipper/receiver is totally uncooperative at the scene, the proper way to handle them is to call the police and have them complete an accident report.
Why? Because it's an accident involving a commercial motor vehicle. It is immaterial that the accident took place on private property.
Back to real life though ... I don't think anyone, or at least hardly anyone, handles these types of claims as an accident. Ideally, two sides talk, or even argue, and either someone gets paid, or someone walks away with nothing.
I would expect though that if everyone handled these situations as an accident, shippers/receivers everywhere would have a massive sh!t haemorrhage.

Just my simple $0.02 for the day :)
 

TRKINSURE

Active Member
15
While a noble thought indeed ... what load brokers carry insurance for such an event?
What would that policy even be called?
How would they even administer it?
It would be a nightmare !!!

@TRKINSURE can correct me if I am wrong on the following ...
I am 99.9% certain such a policy does not exist. Even if it did exist I am 100% certain no load broker would buy it. The cost would make carrier's insurance look like chump change and/or the policy would be so narrow in scope that it would cover almost nothing.
For all intents and purposes such a claim is a PL&PD claim and it would be handled through your auto policy, not your cargo policy.
In these types of incidents, where the shipper/receiver is totally uncooperative at the scene, the proper way to handle them is to call the police and have them complete an accident report.
Why? Because it's an accident involving a commercial motor vehicle. It is immaterial that the accident took place on private property.
Back to real life though ... I don't think anyone, or at least hardly anyone, handles these types of claims as an accident. Ideally, two sides talk, or even argue, and either someone gets paid, or someone walks away with nothing.
I would expect though that if everyone handled these situations as an accident, shippers/receivers everywhere would have a massive sh!t haemorrhage.

Just my simple $0.02 for the day :)
Hi Michael, you’re correct. No policy exists for a broker in a circumstance like this.
My position to Jonny was to advise the broker of the wrong doing and SHOULD this fall off track, sue em all. The brokers time will be spent in court, regardless of the lack of liability he has on the matter... it’s going to take up time and cause stress. That stress will he passed along to his client, the shipper. And although his case would be dismissed in court, you set a precedence with the broker that they need to be involved with incidents like this and not wipe their hands, like I’m sure he tried to do.
@jonny-chicken glad you got this sorted out reasonably. You’re right, usually the guys at the bottom are more concerned about their jobs than they are your damage. Right move by taking this up the ladder.
that said, you’d like retire before this goes to court with the backlog COVID is creating.
cheers!
 
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