§ 429.206. What if my claim involves a commercial carrier or an insurer?

In the event the property that is the subject of the claim was lost or damaged while in the possession of a commercial carrier or was insured, the following procedures will apply:

(a) Whenever property is damaged, lost, or destroyed while being shipped pursuant to authorized travel orders, the owner must file a written claim for reimbursement with the last commercial carrier known or believed to have handled the goods, or the carrier known to be in possession of the property when the damage or loss occurred, according to the terms of its bill of lading or contract, before submitting a claim against the Government under this subpart.

(b) Whenever property is damaged, lost, or destroyed incident to your service and is insured in whole or in part, you must make demand in writing against the insurer for reimbursement under the terms and conditions of the insurance coverage, before filing a claim against the Government.

(c) Failure to make a demand on a carrier or insurer or to make all reasonable efforts to protect and prosecute rights available against a carrier or insurer and to collect the amount recoverable from the carrier or insurer may result in reducing the amount recoverable from the Government by the maximum amount that would have been recoverable from the carrier or insurer had the claim been timely or diligently prosecuted. However, no deduction will be made where the circumstances of your service preclude reasonable filing of a claim or diligent prosecution, or the evidence indicates a demand was impracticable or would have been unavailing.

(d) After you file a claim against the carrier or insurer, you may immediately submit a claim under this subpart, without waiting until the carrier or insurer finally approves or denies your claim.

(1) Upon submitting your claim, you must certify whether you have not gained any recovery from a carrier or insurer, and enclose all pertinent correspondence.

(2) If the carrier or insurer has not taken final action on your claim, you must immediately tell the carrier or insurer to address all correspondence regarding the claim to the SSA Claims Officer, and you must provide a copy of this notice to the SSA Claims Officer.

(3) You must advise the SSA Claims Officer of any action the carrier or insurer takes on the claim and, upon request, must furnish all correspondence, documents, and other evidence pertinent to the matter.

(e) You must assign to the United States, to the extent you accept any payment on the claim, all rights, title, and interest in any claim you may have against any carrier, insurer, or other party arising out of the incident on which your claim against the United States is based. After payment of the claim by the United States, you must, upon receipt of any payment from a carrier or insurer, pay the proceeds to the United States to the extent of the payment you received from the United States.

(f) If you recover for the loss from the carrier or insurer before your claim under this subpart is settled, the amount of recovery will be applied to the claim as follows:

(1) If you recover an amount that is greater than or equal to your total loss as determined under this subpart, no compensation is allowable under this subpart.

(2) If you recover an amount that is less than such total loss, the allowable amount is determined by deducting the recovery from the amount of such total loss.

(3) For this purpose, your total loss is determined without regard to the maximum payment limitations set forth in § 429.201. However, if the resulting amount after making this deduction exceeds the maximum payment limitations, you will only be allowed the maximum amount set forth in § 429.201.

(g) In a claim arising from damage to an automobile or other motor vehicle, in no event may recovery exceed the reasonable deductible on the insurance policy.