Last week, we discussed the Metcalf and Minnesota case. This scenario goes to show how sensitive and important documentation is in the moving and storage business. As the owner of the company, it is crucial to be well-versed on what type of bill of lading form you use as well as the words you choose to document. It is also important that you keep your company protected with movers insurance in order to avoid such large losses.
Just as important as it is to fill out a bill of lading, it is important that you fill it out properly. All wording on the document WILL be taken literal and can be misunderstood. This is exactly what happened in the case of Temple Steel Corp. v. Landstar Inway, Inc. On Landstar’s bill of lading, it stated false information about a tariff that was “in effect.” In fact, there was no tariff in effect and this ended up costing Landstar $300,000.
In order to avoid being misunderstood, it is important to always have two things when moving non-household goods:
1. Have a “tariff”;
2. Utilize a bill of lading which states the following:
“Received, subject to individually determined rates or contracts that have been agreed upon in writing between the carrier and shipper, if applicable, otherwise to the rates, classifications and rules that have been established by the carrier and are available to the shipper, on request.”
Morale of the story: words do matter! If your wording is not perfect, you may find yourself facing a large financial loss, just as Landstar did.
Luckily, moving and storage companies may be able to protect themselves from a large financial loss, much like this one, with the proper coverage. Movers insurance can be designed to cover a variety of risks, including: general liability, commercial umbrella, employment practices, automobile liability, warehouse liability, occupational accident and much more. Be sure to grab a free quote from us today!