By applying the Convention on the Contract for the International Carriage of Goods by Road (CMR), the Supreme Court found that in terms of the carrier’s limitation of liability, gross negligence is considered as equivalent to wilful misconduct under Estonian law. Therefore, the carrier may not limit its liability even if the damage was caused by gross negligence. The Supreme Court specified that the consignee of goods has generally fulfilled their burden of proof already when substantiating in the statement of claim the circumstances of the carrier’s actions which are sufficiently probable to indicate the intent or gross negligence of the carrier.
In its judgment, the Supreme Court issued important instructions to carriers of temperature-sensitive goods, such as medicines or vaccines. The carrier must have an action plan in place to take account of, prevent, and eliminate typical risks. The carrier needs to know what to do with temperature-sensitive goods to prevent damage to the goods in the case of a broken truck tire, a major engine failure or a refrigeration unit failure. Otherwise, the carrier may not enter into a contract for the carriage of temperature-sensitive goods.