Why Eminent Domain Experience Matters
So you’re thinking about getting legal representation for your eminent domain case. We think that’s a smart move.
But now you must decide which attorney you should hire. You have three options.
1. You can hire a general practice attorney
Maybe he’s the attorney who did your parents’ estate planning, or he helped your brother with a speeding ticket, so you might think of him for your eminent domain issue. But eminent domain is an extremely complex field, and it’s one that some general practice attorneys know very little about. In our experience, if you really want to try to increase the potential offer for your property, you need to be familiar with government appraisals and what mistakes they are likely to make. You need to know which experts might be necessary to try to prove your land’s true value. And you need to have the experience to oversee those experts in a strategic way. Fact is, general practice attorneys have sometimes referred their eminent domain cases to us.
2. You can hire an eminent domain attorney
An eminent domain attorney is someone who focuses on cases like yours. They spend every workday thinking about strategies to help prove the increased value of someone’s land. Ideally, they’ve overseen hundreds of condemnation cases and can recognize factors that could affect your property’s value, such as how the proximity of a proposed road may damage the resale value of your home or how it may cut off access to your business. Finally, they likely already have relationships with experts (environmentalists, land planners, engineers, and so forth) who may be needed to prove your land’s “highest and best use.” And they should know how to present their findings in court in a convincing way.
3. You can hire an eminent domain attorney with previous NCDOT experience
In North Carolina, these attorneys are few and far between, but we have four right here at the NC Eminent Domain Law Firm. Stan Abrams, Jason Campbell, Kevin Mahoney, and Ken Sack know the ins and outs of land condemnation proceedings (like other eminent domain lawyers) but they also know how condemnations work from inside the NCDOT. One was even the primary attorney on the largest case the agency had ever faced at that point in time. And we may be able to use that inside experience to your benefit.
We’ve seen some of the mistakes homeowners (and their lawyers) have made when negotiating with the NCDOT, and we can help you try to avoid doing or saying anything that might hurt your case. We may also have insight about what’s going on behind the scenes.
We’ve reviewed countless appraisals, and might know not only what types of errors an appraisal may potentially have, but we may know who the appraisers are and what their tendencies might be.
“It wasn’t uncommon for just one or two appraisers to work on a large project with 200 properties and tight timelines,” admits Stan. “That’s not usually a recipe in your favor.”
Further, if you have to go to court, since we’ve worked alongside many of the NCDOT attorneys you may face, we may be familiar with some of their strategies and can let you know what to expect.
This level of familiarity is potentially invaluable when trying to get you the most for your property.
70+ Years of Combined Experience, Many Kinds of Cases
Our attorneys have more than 70 years of combined experience and have tried many kinds of cases all throughout the state.
We’ve handled many different types of projects, from complex multi-million dollar highways to minor sidewalk easements. Each project and each area of the state comes with its own unique set of circumstances – and potential problems. For example, negotiating what may seem like a simple utility easement in the eastern part of the state where wetlands are common, can be very different and much more challenging than handling a utility easement in another part of the state, where topography and drainage are less of an issue.
Over those years, we’ve refined our ability to present land valuations convincingly in courtrooms across North Carolina. And we’ve built relationships with experts throughout the state, from nearly every type of related field.
Since we’ve been in business, we’ve increased the average offer for our clients by 202%.*
We left the NCDOT because we care about people like you. We saw too many property owners leaving good money on the table when trying to go at it alone, or because they didn’t hire an experienced eminent domain attorney.
*Each case is different and must be evaluated separately. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Average based on each case’s increase as of 12/30/20.