Both businesses big and small use trains to transport their products. Indeed, with decentralized manufacturing, few Long Beach, California, businesses can attain their products by any other means. And, even those businesses that receive their products by truck, the products usually arrived by train at some point in the supply chain. Unfortunately, with the number of train derailments, it may just be a matter of time until your business is affected by one, and if it does happen, what can you do?
If your products are on a derailed train, you may have options for recovering damages. One of these options is to file a claim under the Carmack Amendment, which is a federal law that establishes a uniform national system of liability for interstate carriers. This law applies to the interstate shipping of all commodities by shippers and carriers, with exceptions for fishermen, farmers and other industries.
The Carmack Amendment potentially limits the carrier’s liability as it creates a 9-month statute of limitations. If you fail to make a claim within those nine months, you may lose your ability to recover damages. The carrier is responsible for any damages to goods that it has transported, and no proof of negligence is necessary to establish liability under this law. However, the carrier can avail itself of five exceptions to this assumption of negligence. They can blame the shipper, an act of god, a public authority, some other public enemy and even blame the goods themselves.
What if it actually happens?
If you are a business in Long Beach, California, and your products were on a derailed train, you have options for recovering damages. However, there will be issues of federal and state law and how it applies to your situation and how each may limit the extent of liability for the carrier or shipper when there is a dispute.