Eminent domain is the government’s power to force private property owners to give up their land for public use. Despite this controversial power, the government must offer “just compensation” for any property it takes through condemnation proceedings.
It is essential to hire an eminent domain attorney that will protect your interests and fight to get you the maximum compensation. Here are some tips for choosing the right eminent domain attorney:
Look for Experience
Generally, the more experience an attorney has in a practice area, the better. Eminent domain law is no exception. An experienced eminent domain attorney will understand the various considerations unique to condemnation cases and use this knowledge to their client’s advantage.
For example, an eminent domain case is a complex adversarial proceeding. The government has large teams of attorneys, engineers, land planners, and appraisers working on their side. They ensure their agency offers you “just compensation” for your property.
An eminent domain attorney in North Carolina with experience in these types of cases will be familiar with the process and help you avoid mistakes that can damage your claim for compensation at settlement negotiations or during the trial. They will also be able to identify ways that the government may be attempting to short-change you. This information will be critical to ensuring you get the maximum compensation possible for your property.
Look for a Reputation
An attorney’s reputation is critical in choosing the right eminent domain lawyer. A lawyer with a good track record in eminent domain law is the best choice. Only work with an attorney committed to representing landowners in eminent domain and condemnation cases. Their lack of experience may lead them to give you bad advice or miss essential aspects of your case that could get you more money for your property.
Eminent domain is a controversial power government agencies use to take private property for a public project such as road construction, railway lines, or even school expansion. Unfortunately, many property owners are taken advantage of during this process and accept the government’s low offer without a professional to represent them. This is why you should always seek legal representation as soon as you think the government might attempt to take your land or property. A reputable eminent domain lawyer can fight for the fair market value of your property, and they can hire an independent appraiser to help ensure that you receive just compensation.
Look for Fees
Generally, the government must demonstrate that taking your property will serve a public purpose, and it must pay you “just compensation.” It is essential to have an attorney who understands how to challenge the government’s offer in eminent domain cases.
An eminent domain attorney can help you avoid mistakes that harm your compensation claim in later negotiations or at trial. They can review your appraisal and conduct a case evaluation before you decide whether to accept an initial government offer or proceed to litigation.
The government takes advantage of many landowners who attempt to negotiate without legal representation. Often, the government will lowball a landowner’s property and try to use evidence of that low valuation against them at trial. Hiring an eminent domain attorney early on in the process is critical.
Look for a Plan
An eminent domain attorney can help you determine what your property is worth and how much you are entitled to receive for it. They can also advise you about your legal rights and assist you in challenging the government’s offer.
An experienced eminent domain lawyer can advise you about mitigation and relocation assistance. This can reduce the impact on your property and your family and may provide you with additional compensation for your property.
Ask your prospective eminent domain attorney about the percentage of their practice devoted to this area. You will also want to know if they plan to take your case to trial. It is uncommon for eminent domain cases to go to trial, but if it does, your lawyer must be able to convince the jury. In addition, an eminent domain lawyer should know the laws in other jurisdictions to help you prepare your case for trial if necessary.