Overcoming unjustified claims: a recipe for a positive outcome

by | Nov 29, 2023

International transport is fraught with both opportunities and many challenges. Transport companies are increasingly faced with a growing number of cases and disputes that arise in the course of their work. In some cases, these disagreements reach court, where qualified expertise is crucial to achieving a positive outcome. In this article we focus on the importance of professional work in resolving disputes in the world of international transport.

 

The Facts

Our client, a carrier, was commissioned to transport goods from Bulgaria to France. At the unloading address it was found that the goods were damaged. This was also established by the entry of an appropriate remark in the CMR consignment note.

The challenges

The owner of the goods brought a claim in relation to the damaged goods directly before the court. This is generally unusual as claims for damage or shortages are brought out of court under the CMR Convention.

Our client received by post a notice from the French court before which the case was brought, of the scheduled hearing, and information about the claim. With surprise and a degree of concern, a representative of the transport company contacted us asking for assistance.

In a case such as this, great care must be taken, bearing in mind the jurisdiction of the court before which the case is pending and that the specifics of the applicable law must be taken into account.

Professional care and assistance

As experts in the field of transport law, we at Claims Trans have an extensive network of contacts of lawyers abroad with whom we work on a daily basis on various cases.

Without wasting time, we contacted our partner in France. The latter, after becoming acquainted with the case, immediately took the necessary steps to ensure that our client was properly represented in court in France.

Together with the lawyer, we discussed the main lines of defence open to us.

The claimant’s (the owner of the goods) claim was extremely high, including the cost of repairing the damaged goods, transport costs, operational loss, and legal costs.

The operating loss claimed by the plaintiff was a huge sum, which was not proven either in reason or in amount.

After a thorough discussion of the facts and the applicable law with the French lawyer, we concluded together that our client was only liable for the damage to the goods, but up to the limit of liability provided for in the CMR Convention.

As a next step, we considered that it would be best if an out-of-court settlement could be reached with the other party in order to bring the case to a swift and fair conclusion.

Our partner initiated serious negotiations with the opposing party and its legal representative, ultimately succeeding in its efforts, and the claimant agreed to be compensated up to the carrier’s limit of liability and to have the case dismissed and accordingly closed.

In the meantime, open court hearings were held and it took almost a year to reach a settlement, have it approved by the court and accordingly terminate the proceedings. Otherwise, if no agreement had been reached, perhaps the trial would have continued for another year.

Conclusions

In the end, thanks to our efforts and the professionalism of our partner, the value of the claim was reduced from nearly 90,000 EUR to 13,000 EUR. With the out-of-court settlement, the case was closed relatively quickly and entirely in the interest of our client. Justice prevailed once again and we were able to fight off the unjustified claim of the owner of the goods, which, had it been upheld by the court, could have proved disastrous for our client’s business.

 

Success in the field of transportation case management requires not only careful management, but also professional care and assistance. At Claims Trans, we provide expert claims assistance on a daily basis. Our commitment to clients and our ability to offer quick and effective solutions play a crucial role in achieving positive results that, in turn, fully satisfy our clients.

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