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The various kinds of claims, the necessary documents to substantiate the claim, and such other information necessary to its intelligent investigation is incorporated in an able treatise entitled Freight Claims, written by Mr. Trimpe, of the Chicago Bar, and published by LaSalle Extension University, Chicago.
Mr. G. H. Hunt, Freight Claim Agent of the Chicago Great Western Railroad, is the author of a monograph, The Investigation of Freight Claims, also published by the institution mentioned in the foregoing paragraph, a textbook which shows the various steps in the investigation of freight claims from the standpoint of a railroad freight claim department.
Standard forms have been devised for the presentation of both classes of claims, that is, a form for overcharge claims, and a form for loss or damage claims.
These forms appear in Fig. 25 and Fig. 26. The essential information required by each is self-evident.
These forms were approved by the Interstate Commerce Commission, the National Association of Railroad Commissioners, and the National Industrial Traffic League. The use of them simplifies the procedure in drawing up the claim, and presents a uniform statement of facts for consideration which greatly facilitates the investigation of the claim.
Some concerns that do not employ the standard form use a mimeographed or multigraphed form similar in arrangement to that appearing in the standard form.
On all claims filed with the carriers, follow-up letters should be sent when an acknowledgment is not received. The carrier should acknowledge that the
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claim papers have been received, and that railroad claim number of a certain series and number has been assigned to it, under which the investigation will be conducted.
Subsequent correspondence with the freight claim agent of the industry should refer to the railroad claim number, in addition to the industrial claim number, to facilitate the assembling and locating of the correspondence.
As in the case of tracers, it is desirable to assign a separate set of numbers for claims, using a different prefix, preferably the letter C, followed by the number which has been given to a particular claim.
In the assignment of numbers to claims, there is no necessity of indicating the month in which the claim was filed; the letter prefix and the single numeral has been found to be sufficient. Obviously, the same mumber should not be used again after having once been assigned to a claim.
The advantage of the prefix is that on inbound correspondence, the correspondence clerk, or mail clerk, can readily identify the letters and distribute them to the proper individuals in the department. All numbers bearing a “T” prefix, for example, would be passed to the tracing clerk, and all letters bearing a number with a “C” prefix would be passed to the claim investigator.
The customary practice is to provide stout manilla backs for the correspondence, and on these is provided a space in which to insert the claim number. This stout back protects the lighter weight correspondence paper and prevents the mutilation of the various documents and correspondence used to substantiate the claim.
THREE CLASSES OF CLAIMS
After the inauguration of the system, claims will resolve themselves into three classes as far as the industry is concerned: claims adjusted, claims declined and claims in suspense.
RESURRECTION OF DECLINED ISSUES
While, temporarily at least, declined claims and those which have been adjusted are, for the time being, disposed of and apparently fall in the same class, it is recommended that declined claims be maintained in a separate file from the adjusted claims. The reason for this is that it is not unlikely that some court ruling or decision handed down at some later date will have a bearing on some of the declined claims, and that this decision may be resorted to as a lever to compel payment.
INTEREST AN ELEMENT OF DAMAGE
Under the Interstate Commerce Commission regulations, claimants are entitled to interest as an element of damage on overcharge claims. In drawing up the claim papers on such a case, a rubber impression stamp is frequently used to indicate across the face of the claim that interest is demanded on this claim at time of settlement for elapsed time after payment of excessive charges at the rate of 6 per cent per annum, in accordance with the ruling of the