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Eminent Domain

What Is Eminent Domain?

Eminent domain is the government’s privilege to seize land held by private owners without consent. However, the government must show reasonable use of this land.

Using seized land for public purposes is the intention of eminent domain. For example: using the land to set up transportation, public buildings, public works, and other projects deemed beneficial to the State.

Eminent domain falls under the 5th Amendment’s ‘takings’ clause: nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation. The important note of this is “compensation.”

The government must pay appropriate compensation if a structure is on the property. This becomes a tricky situation when the building acts as a home or place of business. The landowner may dispute claims no matter the price.

Unfortunately, the government may not play well with landowners. When this happens, it is vital to talk with an experienced and reputable legal professional to weigh your options.

Legal Process for Eminent Domain Cases

There are three types of property seizures under eminent domain:

  • Complete
  • Partial
  • Temporary

The legal process of an eminent domain case begins with the government outlining plans that include your property. These plans must prove they are for the good of the public and not for private entities.

An appraiser visits the land to determine its value. At this point, the government may explore these actions:

  • Deliver a notice and offer compensation.
  • Leverage a lawsuit to pursue the property.

The process reaches completion if the landowner agrees to the proposed compensation. The land becomes acquired, and the government may move on with their project.

The other scenario:

A landowner who does not agree to the government’s proposal sees her or his case taken before a ‘condemnation’ proceeding. Here, the landowner presents a case and outlines what she or he feels is just compensation based on the valuation.

If all parties cannot reach an agreement, then the proceedings activate a hearing. The government and landowner present their cases during a hearing. The State shows its attempts to buy the land along with proving its public use for it. It is on the landowner and her or his legal representation to make a case against the State. The hearing can go either way.

Taking an eminent domain case to a hearing pits an individual against a massive entity with unlimited resources. Although, the government owes an obligation to the people, meaning landowners can (and have) successfully defend their case.

How an Eminent Domain Attorney Can Help You

A landowner who accepts the government’s offer makes a decision, and the State proceeds in seizing the land. However, there is a chance that the landowner completely misunderstood the government’s offer. What if the State strong-arms the owner?

An eminent domain attorney is on your side when challenging the State. Your legal advocate helps to initiate condemnation. This begins the process of both parties presenting their case. The attorney helps the landowner navigate the (often) confusing aspects of the law.

Most proceedings go one of two ways:

  • The government obtains the land, but you receive fair compensation due in part to the attorney fighting for every dollar owed and deserved.
  • The government backs down because it cannot prove (without a doubt) a public use for the land or that the public has a legal claim to the land.  

Working with an eminent domain attorney improves your chances of retaining your land. Eminent domain legal advocates work on your behalf to challenge the State’s claim. Of course, this decision is yours; you may also pursue compensation.

If you choose compensation, the eminent domain law professional puts her or his skills and knowledge toward just compensation. Often, attorneys do not take a fee from the earnings because the State pays for the proceedings and attorney fees.

All-in-all, an eminent domain lawyer helps you navigate the courtroom and offers guidance when you feel overwhelmed. There is no downside to accepting such services.

Work With an Experienced Local Lawyer

Has the State or federal government overextended their welcome and forced you to seek eminent domain attorney services? If so, the information provided on our page may prove indispensable if you seek a legal dispute or compensation.

Our eminent domain law professionals can help guide you through the process. We uphold our commitment to helping you receive every cent you rightfully deserve for your property. Or, we will do everything you can to retain your property rights.

Submit a request online or call us today at (866) 345-6784 to get in touch with an experienced eminent domain lawyer in your area!

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