If I Do My Own Packing, Is The Mover Liable for Broken/Damaged Items?

Yes. Liability is with movers if items are damaged or lost during transit. Most moving companies use tariff provisions that allow them to repack boxes as needed. Boxes are also repacked under a tariff provision if they might damage other items within a moving truck or van.

Common Law Defenses

Mover services are liable for damaged or lost goods during a move unless one or more common law defenses are applicable. Examples of common law defenses include an act of nature, such as a severe thunderstorm or hurricane, an “act or omission of the shipper,” i.e. faulty packing, “inherent vice,” an “act of public enemy,” and an “act of public authority.”

Careful Packing

As long as you pack your items carefully, you will not have to worry about common law defenses applying if your property is lost or damaged. You are fully within your rights to take legal action if one or more of your goods sustain damage despite your best packing efforts.

Bubble wrap, old towels, clothes, newspaper, and paper towels are among the best packing materials for keeping breakable goods and all other items precious to you safe and secure during transit.

Moving Estimate

If you’re considering packing services instead of doing the job yourself, request that such services be added to your moving estimate. You might decide it’s well worth the money to have professional movers pack your items with the extra care they need. Packing services are frequently included in a moving estimate, but not always.

Keep liability with movers in mind as you navigate the challenging waters of a local or long-distance move. The more information you have about a moving company prior to commissioning service, the better. Good luck!

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