Why Should I Hire An Eminent Domain Attorney?
You get a notice that the government wants to buy your property under the power of eminent domain to make room for a new highway running through town. You've been hearing a lot about the new highway and how it's going to help the town grow by attracting new businesses and making the commute through town easier. You don't want to stand in the way of progress, and the offer the government gave you for your property seems fair. You think you should agree to sell.
This is a common scenario in North Carolina and throughout the country. Property owners learn that their property is going to be taken under eminent domain and they think they have no other options. It's the government, after all! Property owners may feel they have no options, or they may think that the purchase offer is fair and don't want to appear "greedy."
Unfortunately, the government does not always act in the best interests of the property owner when taking property under eminent domain. A qualified eminent domain lawyer can protect your interests and help you understand your rights.
If you have been notified that your property is going to be taken under eminent domain, here are just a few ways that a qualified eminent domain attorney may be able to help you:
Understand Your Rights
Government agencies have to meet certain criteria before they can take private property under eminent domain. They have to show that the property will serve a public use and that the portion of the property that they want to take is necessary for that use.
For example, they may be able to take property to install new electric or water lines, to build roads or bridges, or to build new public properties, such as schools. If only a portion of the property is needed for that use, such as with installing new power lines, then only the portion that is necessary for the project can be taken.
An eminent domain attorney can help you understand whether the reason the government is trying to take your property is really serving a public need and whether all the property needs to be taken to meet that need. These are complex questions of law that require expert interpretation of legal statutes. When you have an eminent domain lawyer on your side, you can be sure you are getting an objective interpretation that considers your rights, as well.
Get Fair Compensation
In our experience, when the government tries to take your property under eminent domain, it will often try to pay you the lowest possible amount. The amount the government offers you may not be the amount you actually deserve for your property.
A qualified eminent domain attorney can try to help you get the compensation you may deserve, including:
- Fair value for your property
- Compensation for damages if a portion of the property is taken and negatively impacts the remaining property
- Compensation for fixtures and improvements to the property
- Relocation expenses
In order to show the true value of your property, experts such as environmentalists, surveyors and engineers may need to be hired to evaluate it. An eminent domain attorney will front the cost of these expenses in order to try to get you the most compensation for your property that is considered fair under the law.
Navigate A Complex Process
Eminent domain laws are very complicated, and they require expert interpretation to ensure that abuse does not occur and that the interests of all parties are protected.
A qualified eminent domain attorney can guide you through this process from start to finish, advising you of your rights and fighting for your interests. Actions you take even before eminent domain proceedings begin can negatively affect the outcome of your case. An eminent domain attorney can help you take the right steps to try and get the best outcome.
The government has lawyers working hard on their side, and so should you.