Beginning and Ending of Carrier Liability


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When Liability Begins

Common carrier liability begins only after acceptance of the bailment agreement by the carrier. Such acceptance takes effect when the goods are placed in a position to be cared for, and under the control of the carrier or his agent, with his knowledge and consent. Thus, making available to the shipper a vehicle for loading by the shipper or a vehicle for the possible temporary storage of goods by the shipper does not constitute an acceptance of bailment. Avisun Corp. v. Mercer Motor Freight, Inc., 321 N.Y.S.2d 658 at 660 (App.Div. 1971).

Furthermore, the shipper must give the carrier appropriate shipping instructions. Republic Carloading & Distributing Co. v. Missouri Pacific R.R. Co., 302 F.2d 381 at 385 (8th Cir. 1962).

For liability as a common carrier to commence, a shipper must complete delivery to the carrier, and the shipment must be accepted by the carrier. Dugdale Packing Co. v. Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Ry. Co., 347 F.Supp. 1276 (W.D. Mo. 1972); Mattel, Inc. v. Interstate Contract Carrier Corp., 722 F.2d 17 (2nd. Cir. 1983); Conair Corp. v. Old Dominion Freight Line, Inc., 22 F.3d 529 (3rd Cir. 1994); Industrial Risk Ins. v. United Parcel Service, 746 A.2d 532, 328 N.J.Super. 584 (N.J.Super.AD 2000).


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Re: Beginning and Ending of Carrier Liability

Isn't a main liability issue a problem/loss discovered sometime after the carrier has accepted the goods, but it is unclear when the problem/loss occurred?


Based on my experience in transporting goods and carriers to and from the province to the city, the liability of the carrier starts when the the goods are loaded on the truck and ends when the goods are downloaded in the destination. One question on my mind regarding this issue is when the goods are damaged while in the act of moving to or from the truck. It is a debatable situation and I'm glad that there was no such incident during my watch in our warehouse. By the way the goods are computers and computer accessories and other electronic equipment.


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If the goods never gets to its supposed destination intact without any damages, the carrier still is liable to bearing the risks of transportation and delivery of the goods to the buyer. I think that there was an article which I read some time ago where it's was brought to debate that risk of transporting the products should be shared because it's something that can't really be contained or controlled without flaw. If it's going to get damaged, it's definitely going to be. So, why must one person bear the burnt?
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