Damaged in Transit

An accident caused a tragic loss of whiskey on a Tennessee highway.  I’m Amy E. Feldman.

It sounds like a math problem: a semi-truck picked up a load of $400,000 worth of Jack Daniel’s Whiskey last week in Lynchburg, headed to a railroad terminal in Nashville, but in transit, overturned in Murfreesboro, so how much is a puddle of Jack Daniel’s worth?  Actually it’s a legal problem though: if cargo is damaged during shipping, who has to pay?

Unlike math problems, the answer to most legal questions is: it depends on the contract.  The sales agreement —the one everyone signs but no one reads—says either that the seller has already fulfilled the whole contract when the goods leave its facility, or that the seller remains responsible until they arrive at the buyer’s facility.  If the goods were undamaged when they left the seller’s facility but harmed in transit, then the carrier could be liable.  So, read the fine print to figure out who’s going to bear the risk if there’s a loss of your precious cargo.

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