Bad things can happen when a truck parks on railroad tracks. Fortunately this time the bad things did not include dead bodies or injured, only a totaled tractor and trailer and a few scratches on the Amtrak train.
It was 2 AM when I got the call. Our driver had been carrying thousands of pounds of Monterey Jack that were now spilled all over the scene at the railroad tracks. I got there just after the CHP had arrived and stopped the train passengers from looting the cheese.
Claims assigned on Friday afternoon are one of the perils of specializing in cargo. Just about all your resources have taken off for the weekend and there you are sweating to arrange equipment or storage or whatever it takes to salvage the load.
This one arrived after 3 PM on a Friday. A trailer with 112,000 frozen burritos had been abandoned in a motel parking lot, the truck was missing and no one knew if the reefer was still running. The insured found it via the satellite system after the load went several days late and the customer called in to refuse it.
The hard part about produce salvage after a truck spill on the freeway isn’t the sorting and moving of the material. Not if you have the manpower. And the hard part is not getting the manpower to the scene in the required 30- 45 minute time frame. Not if you know who to call. The hard part is not the drivers on that stretch of freeway – even California’s craziest motorists brake for several tons of cantaloupes.
Our client had transported a prototype of an expensive computer-operated lathe machine from a trade show back to the company’s offices. It arrived badly damaged. The company that owned the machine filed a claim and followed that up with a lawsuit within a few weeks. On the surface it looked like our client was on the hook.