By Ron Chauvel
The state of Minnesota recently enacted new law (H.B. 1992) that makes void and unenforceable any provisions contained in shipper contracts for motor carrier transportation that require carriers to assume liability for the shipper's negligence. Minnesota is the thirty-second state to enact this type of legislation. Many shippers include in their contracts what some would consider unfair and onerous provisions which carriers are required to accept to retain hauling privileges. Carrier insurance may not cover damages resulting from the shipper's negligence which may leave the carrier in the unenviable position of having to pay such losses without insurance coverage.
Carriers should closely review the contracts they sign and be aware of state laws that may assist carriers in instances where claims are filed.