Damage to Goods in Transit - Who Pays the Bill? | Legal Articles


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Damage to Goods in Transit - Who Pays the Bill?

When goods embark on a journey from one location to another, a multitude of risks emerges. Owners find themselves pondering whether their goods will reach their destination unscathed, contemplating scenarios involving theft or malfunction. Simultaneously, the transporting party grapples with the question of who will foot the replacement bill if goods incur damage due to an unforeseen motor vehicle accident. Is there a safety net in the form of goods in transit insurance, and can owners be compelled to secure goods in transit insurance policy cover? These questions are of paramount importance, considering the inherent risks in moving goods, risks that have the potential to substantially impact businesses. Accidents, by their very nature, are unpredictable and tend to occur at the most inconvenient times, underscoring the necessity of preparedness.

Goods in Transit - Attorneys Johannesburg & Cape Town

At the heart of this matter are at least two parties – the owner of the goods and the transporter. Their respective rights and obligations emanate from the contract forged between them. Consequently, having a comprehensive agreement detailing the rights and obligations of each party in the event of unforeseen incidents is imperative.

The Transporter's Responsibility:

Mitigating liability in the transportation of goods involves prioritizing safety on the roads. Larger removal companies often stipulate that owners must secure goods in transit insurance before commencement, incorporating it as part of the contractual package. This practice acts as a shield against liability in situations where damage occurs due to factors beyond their immediate control. While smaller removal companies may not insist on insurance coverage, some customers may already have goods in transit insurance policies in place, presenting no significant issues. It's noteworthy that certain home contents insurance policies extend coverage for goods in transit. Owners are advised to scrutinize policies, comparing the offerings to select the option that provides the most comprehensive cover.

Owner's Risks and Legal Counsel:

The primary burden of risk falls upon the owner. Seeking legal counsel before consenting to the removal of goods is a prudent step due to the following reasons:

  1. Some removal companies employ contracts to shield themselves from liability, potentially altering their accountability.
  2. Unfair rejection of insurance claims is not uncommon, leaving owners to shoulder the financial burden.
  3. The intricate language in contracts poses challenges for individuals seeking compensation, often concealing clauses detrimental to their claims.

In instances where contracts specify no insurance requirement, thereby placing the goods at the owner's risk even during transit, the Consumer Protection Act 68 of 2008 becomes a pivotal reference point. The Act mandates that a supplier must exercise a reasonable degree of care, holding them liable for any loss resulting from a failure to do so.

Van Deventer & Van Deventer Inc. - Attorneys Johannesburg & Cape Town

For comprehensive legal assistance, including matters related to goods in transit insurance in South Africa, Van Deventer & Van Deventer Inc. is your trusted partner. Explore our interactive website for detailed information or reach out to us directly for professional advice.

The information contained in this site is for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. One should not act nor refrain from acting on the basis of any content included in this site without seeking legal or other professional advice. The contents of this site contain general information which may not reflect current legal developments or address one’s situation. We disclaim all liability for actions one may take or fail to take based on any content on this site.

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