John Hughes Cooper, P.C. represents clients involved in disputes over personal injury or cargo damage arising out of a carrier’s negligence. With almost forty years of combined litigation experience, we have the knowledge to assist with a variety of transportation related cases, including:
- Freight claims against carriers under the Carmack Amendment;
- Carriage of Goods by Sea Act claims against steamship lines or downstream carriers;
- Claims against and Defense of Freight Forwarders and Non-Vessel Operating Common Carriers;
- Tort claims for personal injury or property damage;
- Tractor-trailer accidents and rollovers; and
- We can also assist with prompt accident investigations to help collect and preserve evidence.
Prompt Action Is Important
If you have been injured or your property has been damaged in a tractor-trailer, rail, steamship, or other accident, you should contact an attorney experienced in transportation issues without delay. Favorable resolution of cases often hinges on the ability to investigate the accident and to gather and preserve evidence.
South Carolina Cargo Damage Claims
Owners of cargo carried under a clean ocean bill of lading may pursue legal action against an ocean carrier or the ship if the cargo is discharged in damaged condition or if the cargo is lost. Prompt notice of damage or loss should be given and, generally, suit must commence within one year of discharge of the cargo. Damage is often limited to $500 per package or customary freight unit, unless the cargo owner declared a higher value for the cargo before shipment.
If, after ocean carriage, the damaged cargo is delivered by rail or other domestic carrier, the cargo owner should still give prompt notice of damage or loss, but may have more than one year to commence suit against the delivering carrier.A carrier of household goods is subject to laws more favorable to the owner of the goods. Under certain circumstances, these laws also may allow attorneys’ fees to the owner.
The Hague Rules
Generally, an ocean common carrier has two types of duties under the Hague Rules:
Before voyage, a carrier must exercise due diligence to ensure the vessel is seaworthy; to properly staff, equip and supply the ship; and to make the holds fit and safe for cargo.
The carrier must also properly and carefully load, handle, keep, carry, stow, care for and discharge the cargo.