§ 39-12-28. Bill of lading requirements Liability for damages.
Any common carrier subject to the provisions of this chapter, receiving property for transportation between points within this state, shall issue a receipt or bill of lading therefor, and shall be liable to the lawful holder thereof for any loss, damage, or injury to the property caused by it or by any other common carrier to which the property may be delivered or over whose line or lines the property may pass within this state when transported on a through bill of lading, and any common carrier so receiving property for transportation between points within this state or any common carrier delivering the property so received and transported shall be liable to the lawful holder of the receipt or bill of lading or to any party entitled to recover thereon, whether the receipt or bill of lading has been issued or not, for the actual loss, damage, or injury to the property caused by it or by any common carrier to which the property may be delivered or over whose line or lines the property may pass within this state when transported on a through bill of lading notwithstanding any limitation of liability or limitation of the amount of recovery or representation or agreement as to value in any receipt or bill of lading, or any contract, rule, regulation, or in any tariff filed with the administrator; and the limitation without respect to the manner or form in which it is sought to be made is hereby declared to be unlawful and void; provided, however, that the provisions hereof respecting liability for full actual loss, damage, or injury, notwithstanding any limitation of liability or recovery or representation or agreement or release as to value and declaring any limitation to be unlawful and void, shall not apply to property received for transportation concerning which the motor carrier shall have been or shall hereafter be expressly authorized or required by order of the administrator to establish and maintain rates dependent upon the value declared in writing by the shipper or agreed upon in writing as the released value of the property, in which case the declaration or agreement shall have no other effect than to limit liability and recovery to an amount not exceeding the value so declared or released; and any tariff or schedule which may be filed with the administrator pursuant to the order shall contain specific reference thereto and may establish rates varying with the value so declared and agreed upon; and the administrator is hereby empowered to make the order in cases where rates dependent upon and varying with declared or agreed value would, in his or her opinion, be just and reasonable under the circumstances surrounding the transportation; provided, further, that nothing in this chapter shall deprive any holder of a receipt or bill of lading of any remedy or right of action which he or she has under existing law; provided, further, that it shall be unlawful for any motor common carrier to provide by rule, contract, regulation, or otherwise, a shorter period for the filing of claims than nine (9) months, and for the institution of suits than two (2) years, the period for institution of suits to be computed from the day when notice in writing is given by the carrier to the claimant that the carrier has disallowed the claim or any part or parts thereof specified in the notice; and, provided, further, that the liability imposed in this section shall also apply to property reconsigned or diverted in accordance with the applicable tariff filed as in this chapter provided. The common carrier issuing the receipt or bill of lading, or delivering the property so received and transported, shall be entitled to recover from the common carrier over whose lines the loss, damage, or injury shall have been sustained, the amount of the loss, damage, or injury as it may be required to pay to the owners of the property, as may be evidenced by any receipt, judgment, or transcript thereof, and the amount of any expense reasonably incurred by it in defending the action at law brought by the owners of the property.
(P.L. 1958, ch. 87, § 1; P.L. 1979, ch. 341, § 1.)