Attorney Leonard M. Singer, Boston, MA  (617) 737-7670  (www.LeonardMSinger.com)

Excerpt from:

49 U.S.C. § 14706. Liability of carriers under receipts and bills of lading

(a) General Liability.—

(1) Motor carriers and freight forwarders.— A carrier providing transportation or service subject to jurisdiction under subchapter I or III of chapter 135 shall issue a receipt or bill of lading for property it receives for transportation under this part. That carrier and any other carrier that delivers the property and is providing transportation or service subject to jurisdiction under subchapter I or III of chapter 135 or chapter 105 are liable to the person entitled to recover under the receipt or bill of lading. The liability imposed under this paragraph is for the actual loss or injury to the property caused by

(A) the receiving carrier,

(B) the delivering carrier, or

(C) another carrier over whose line or route the property is transported in the United States or from a place in the United States to a place in an adjacent foreign country when transported under a through bill of lading and, except in the case of a freight forwarder, applies to property reconsigned or diverted under a tariff under section 13702. Failure to issue a receipt or bill of lading does not affect the liability of a carrier. A delivering carrier is deemed to be the carrier performing the line-haul transportation nearest the destination but does not include a carrier providing only a switching service at the destination.

(2) Freight forwarder.— A freight forwarder is both the receiving and delivering carrier. When a freight forwarder provides service and uses a motor carrier providing transportation subject to jurisdiction under subchapter I of chapter 135 to receive property from a consignor, the motor carrier may execute the bill of lading or shipping receipt for the freight forwarder with its consent. With the consent of the freight forwarder, a motor carrier may deliver property for a freight forwarder on the freight forwarder’s bill of lading, freight bill, or shipping receipt to the consignee named in it, and receipt for the property may be made on the freight forwarder’s delivery receipt.

(b) Apportionment.— The carrier issuing the receipt or bill of lading under subsection (a) of this section or delivering the property for which the receipt or bill of lading was issued is entitled to recover from the carrier over whose line or route the loss or injury occurred the amount required to be paid to the owners of the property, as evidenced by a receipt, judgment, or transcript, and the amount of its expenses reasonably incurred in defending a civil action brought by that person.

Do not act or rely upon this statute without ensuring that it is up to date and without seeking professional legal advice