Why You May Choose To NOT Hire A Lawyer
Many people choose to go through the eminent domain process alone, but we don't suggest it. Actions you take, even before the condemnation process begins, could negatively impact your case. Below are a few common misconceptions that might cause you not to hire a lawyer.
You think you don't have any other options.
One day you're going about your everyday life and the next the government tells you that your property is being taken under eminent domain. Agents working for the government are telling you how much they will take and what they will pay you for it. You may feel like you don't get a "say" in the process at all.
But you do. And don't be intimidated. The government must first prove that your property will serve a public purpose and that the portion they want to take is necessary for the proposed project. Secondly, the government's offer is negotiable. They are required to give you "just compensation" - and you may get to play a part in determining what that means.
However, challenging the government's offer is a complex process and an experienced eminent domain lawyer may be able to help you build the strongest case possible.
You don't realize the offer is too low.
Sometimes the government's offer doesn't seem so bad. Sometimes the zeros on the paper are exciting and people sign their property away without a second thought.
In our experience, the government, just like any other buyer, may try to buy your land for the lowest price possible. They may not take into account all the factors that could affect your property's worth - such as the actual highest value and best use of your property.
A qualified North Carolina condemnation lawyer may hire independent experts (such as environmentalists, civil engineers, surveyors, etc.) who work for you, and not the government, to help make a case for the fair value of your property. In our experience, this can lead to a greater recovery for the taking of your property.
You don't want to be greedy and "stand in the way" of progress.
Maybe you feel that the government's proposal will really help your community (we certainly hope so!) and you don't want to negotiate with the government and thereby stall the project.
Feeling this way is honorable, but it's also unnecessary. Many times the government is able to continue with the condemnation of your property while you're still working out the details for compensation.
You think hiring an attorney may cost you more in the long run.
This is a common perception and it's also the reason we set our attorneys' fee on a contingency basis. This means our attorneys' fee is only based on the amount you're able to recover above what the government initially offers. And if you don't collect more than their original offer, we don't collect an attorneys' fee.
Don't Be Misled
The government has lawyers, appraisers and other professionals working hard on their side, and so should you. An experienced NC Eminent Domain Law Firm attorney can guide you through the process from start to finish - and may be able to help you avoid many of the pitfalls that could result in lower compensation.