Types of Eminent Domain Damages in North Carolina

What kinds of damages can you seek compensation for in an eminent domain taking? Probably more than you think.

Types of Eminent Domain Damages for North Carolina Property Owners

If you’re facing eminent domain, nobody would blame you for being upset.

By law, the government and some private entities (like utility companies) can take your property or property rights. For many owners, eminent domain ruins their long-term plans and dreams for their properties. It’s far more than just a piece of land, and you should pursue maximum compensation if it’s being taken from you.

When the government comes for your property, it will make an initial offer. You want fair and full compensation for both the property being taken and all the many, sometimes hidden ways that your property’s usability and worth can be damaged by eminent domain. Not only might you lose property, what remains may be forever scarred, limited, burdened, and reduced in value.

Beware! It’s unlikely the government’s initial offer accounts for all of the damages that may be appropriate in your case. And while the government’s offer is almost certainly low, the stakes for you are sky high: this is likely your only opportunity to get all the compensation you may deserve.

Blue alert that there's no "second chance" to get everything you may be owned!
We can help you determine the real effect a taking has on your property and what damages you may be owed. Don’t accept the government’s initial offer without getting a free case evaluation from an experienced eminent domain attorney first. Call 1-877-393-4990.

Eminent domain compensation: Damages you may be owed

The government wants your property for as little as possible and they are not required to tell you about all the damages you may be owed.

Below is a list of some damages you may be entitled to when your land is taken. Different and other damages may be available depending on your case, which is why both home and business owners should consult an eminent domain attorney before agreeing to anything.

Direct damages

Direct damages is the money you can get for the property being taken. This is where many property owners stop, even though they may deserve much greater compensation.

Example: The NCDOT takes your front yard to widen the nearby road. You are likely owed compensation for the land they’re taking.

Severance damages

Sometimes, taking a small portion of a property can seriously damage the value and usability of the property left behind. The “severance” of a small portion has damaged the remainder. Experience is often required to spot and value this type of damage properly. Property owners should know that negotiations for severance damages can be difficult and technical.

Example: A gas station at an Interstate exit is subject to a taking that eliminates its tall signage, and a new one isn’t allowed. Even though the remaining land can still be used as a gas station, the value of the land for such purposes may be reduced due to the lack of a sign attracting drivers from the highway.

Easement damages

Easements are tricky. Your property isn’t being taken, but your right to use it as you please is. Determining the value of your rights can be difficult, but your attorney can help.

Example: A classic easement example is when a utility company installs power, data, or sewer lines on your property and retains the right to access the lines whenever needed. In addition to whatever is removed or restricted from being built in the easement area, you are losing the right to control access to that part of your property and are likely entitled to compensation.

Proximity damages

Has the government moved something closer to your home that might impact your ability to use and enjoy your property the way you used to?

Example: Let’s say the government widens a road right by your home from two lanes to four. The road’s closer proximity to your home, along with impacts like more noise and light pollution, may entitle you to compensation.


Land contaminated by government action makes your property worth less even when nothing is directly taken, and you may be entitled to compensation.

Example: The NCDOT takes a temporary construction easement to park its equipment on your land for a nearby road widening, but the leaky equipment or materials contaminate and damage the land.

Loss of landscaping or buffer

Buffers are not just aesthetics. Landscaping is vital to some properties, and losing a buffer may make a property nonconforming.

Example: The NCDOT takes a portion of your residential parcel and, in so doing, reduces the setback below the minimum required by the municipality. If you can’t obtain a variance to remain legal, the NCDOT may owe you compensation for a taking.

Division or bifurcation

What if the NCDOT decides it needs the middle of your property? This kind of taking can trigger several complications and do tremendous damage to the remaining property and its value.

Example: A piece of a family farm is taken for a new Interstate connector, but the road crosses between the farmhouse and barn and the actual cultivated land – making it impossible to reach the other side of your property without going miles out of the way.


Some easements or changes can stigmatize a property, reducing its value. You may be owed compensation for this loss in value.

Example: The power company takes an easement on the property behind a home and installs large, high-tension power lines. Both the easement itself and the presence of high-tension lines can often drive off some buyers, so the property’s value is likely damaged beyond the physical easement itself.

Remember! It is highly advisable to seek all possible compensation before you sign any agreement, as it is likely your only chance to negotiate for more. Consult with a skilled, experienced eminent domain attorney for help. Call 1-877-393-4990 for a free case evaluation.


If a full or partial taking requires you to relocate, you may be entitled to compensation for relocation expenses.

Example: A local restaurant must relocate due to its parking being taken. Costly kitchen fixtures and equipment must be moved – but the restaurant can seek compensation for its moving expenses.

Loss of parking

When a business loses parking, it often becomes less attractive to customers simply because it lacks convenience. Also, certain zoning rules require a minimum number of parking spaces to operate a business on a parcel.

If the taking by the government puts your business under that threshold requirement for parking spaces and your business cannot obtain a waiver, you may be unable to continue to operate your business at that location. Not only will the business be affected, but the value of the land could also be drastically reduced.

Example: A busy barber shop with only ten parking spaces loses half of its parking to eminent domain. This may be compensable.

Loss or reduction of access

This broad damage type refers to the decrease in property value due to decreased or altered access to the property. How you enter and exit a property may make an enormous difference in its usability, safety, and value.

Example: A restaurant might suffer if the elevation of the turning lane to its business is altered, making it inconvenient for customers and impossible for large trucks. If your business has to close because delivery trucks can no longer enter, the government may owe you significant compensation.

A list of the damages you may be owed from an eminent domain taking.

Business owners: Getting just compensation for eminent domain damages

Even if you’re an experienced negotiator as a business owner, you should seek the help of an eminent domain attorney. Eminent domain is likely different from any property issue you’ve ever encountered.

For example, you’re not entitled to compensation for the value of a business on your property.  Rather, you’re generally entitled to compensation for impacts to value of the property, which includes the land, building, and permanent improvements. Be aware, asking for business compensation can harm your case. Get a free case evaluation from a dedicated condemnation attorney before you agree to anything.

Free case evaluation – Experienced eminent domain attorney

You deserve just compensation for all the harms and losses you’re being subjected to by eminent domain, and we know how to help you.

Four of our attorneys used to work for the NC Department of Transportation, so we know how the DOT operates. Since we’ve been in business, we’ve helped our clients get on average nearly 3x their initial offer!1

No fee guarantee, meaning that legal fees will come out of the additional negotiated portion of total compensation received.
We can draw on our network of professionals as needed to build your case for maximum compensation, such as appraisers, engineers, land planners, and more. We advance all these costs while you pay nothing upfront – and nothing at all if we don’t increase the government’s offer.

If you’re facing eminent domain, don’t take on the government alone. Call today at 1-877-393-4990 or contact us online for a free case evaluation.


Get a free case
evaluation today.

There are only a handful of attorneys in NC who practice eminent domain exclusively, and even fewer with NCDOT experience. We have several. That’s why its worth getting in touch with us for a free case evaluation.

Here’s how it works:

1) Tell us about your situation.

2) We research your property as needed, using DOT maps, our own technology, and experience to see the exact effects.

3) We let you know what we think a fair offer would be. This evaluation is free, and there’s no
pressure or obligation to hire us after.

But please don’t wait to act. Waiting can hurt your case, and the cost is the same: free.

"*" indicates required fields

* Indicates required information

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.