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What is a bill of lading, as it relates to marine insurance and the COGSA defenses?

If you are dealing with a marine insurance claim, the subject of a bill of lading may have come up. A bill of lading is issued by carriers who use any and all modes of transportation, not just those that transport goods by sea. It is a document that serves as a confirmation of the receipt of goods on the part of the master or owner. It is the proof of shipment that includes the details of where everything came from, where it needs to go, and who is responsible for sending and receiving. Additionally, it serves as the proof of a contractual obligation on the part of both parties. The bill of lading also gives the title of the goods to the consignee on the bill. If anything happens to the cargo during shipment, the bill of lading may be extremely helpful in proving fault, if any.

Any bill of lading for transportation of goods by sea to and from U.S. ports in foreign trade must include a “clause paramount.” The clause paramount states which country’s legislation is invoked for the shipment. Each country has its own maritime laws. When goods are shipped internationally, it is important to which laws are being followed. The clause paramount for U.S. shipments can use the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act (COGSA).

One thing is for certain: dealing with a marine insurance claim is no easy task. There are many laws and regulations you may not be aware of that can result in a big headache, and even a denied claim. If you have suffered a loss at sea, contact the Texas marine insurance litigation attorneys at The Voss Law Firm, P.C. at 888-614-7730. You can also download a free copy of our book, Your Basic Guide to Marine Insurance.

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The Voss Law Firm, P.C. represents clients on a local, national and international basis. We proudly serve companies and individuals along the Gulf Coast and around the globe on a contingency fee basis. Our law firm collects nothing unless we recover on our client's behalf.

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