5 Things Property Owners Want to Know About Eminent Domain Compensation
You’ve received notice that the government is planning to take part of or all of your land for an eminent domain project.
You know that, by law, you deserve fair compensation for damages to your home, land, and/or business as a result of the taking. But you have many questions relating to what exactly the state will and will not pay you for.
1. Won’t the Government Cover All Damages and Inconveniences?
Some damages the state is not required to compensate you for. There may be a new road going in that blocks access to your driveway, or a median that makes it nearly impossible for you to get to work or take your kids to school in the mornings. Wouldn’t you assume that the government would automatically cover these damages and inconveniences you are forced to bear as a result of the median?
The answer is usually no.
Based on my experience (having worked as an attorney for the NC state government before joining the NC Eminent Domain Law firm) the best chance of receiving more compensation is to enlist the help of an experienced eminent domain attorney – the earlier in the process, the better. Most people who try to handle their case on their own do not understand what the government will and will not pay for. And that could end up costing them big time.
2. Will the NCDOT Compensate You for a Median?
The government will not compensate you if they only construct a median in front of your property – even if it means some of your land is affected and you have been significantly inconvenienced. While that does not seem fair, here is the reasoning behind it.
There are different types of property. You've got personal property, like a Winnebago. You have intellectual property, you've got patents, and then you have dirt (land) and those things permanently attached to the dirt.
NC state law states that the only thing you're entitled to be paid for is the dirt and the things attached to the dirt – like your home. By law, the government does not have to pay you for any personal property that is being disturbed. They don't even have to pay you for your business that is being upended.
To make matters worse, the government doesn’t pay you for all types of dirt issues. Some things they expect you to live with. One of them is a median in the middle of the road right in front of your house. Another is a cul-de-sac on your road. NC eminent domain law states, that just because you are forced to drive the longer way around to get to where you need to go does not mean you should be compensated for your inconvenience.
You’re going take a hit by medians and cul-de-sacs, which you will not get paid for. This is why it is vitally important to get the most compensation possible from what you can legally be paid for to try to cover indirect effects of the government projects. The majority of people, however, do not know what these things are.
With over 35 years combined experience in eminent domain law, our lawyers know how to try to help you get paid for the things you should get paid for (but that the NCDOT sometimes overlooks).
3. Will the NCDOT Pay to Move Your House?
If the roadway project comes too close to your front door, and you don’t want to move off your land or out of your home, will the NCDOT pay to move your home further away from the project?
While the NCDOT will not pay to move the home directly, there may be an opportunity to move the home and still retain some of the NCDOT’s payment. Here’s how this scenario might potentially play out.
If the NCDOT buys a property with a house, it owns the house. Sometimes it will sell the house back to the property owner for a nominal fee, say $2,500. If the owner wishes to move the house back deeper on the property or to a different property, the owner must pay for that move. The NCDOT will not pay for moving the house.
Unexpected costs may arise when moving a house, making it even more important to try to maximize the just compensation paid by the NCDOT in the first place. For this and other reasons, we highly recommend that property owners seek our experienced counsel.
4. Will the NCDOT Pay for Septic Lines?
If the government removes some of your property that includes septic lines, they are obligated to do one of at least two things. The government can either move the septic line or offer you money so that you can hire someone to replace it for you. Septic lines come with their own set of issues, the majority of which we have dealt with for clients in an effort to minimize problems and maximize compensation.
5. Will You Get More With an NC Eminent Domain Lawyer?
Each land-taking scenario comes with its own unique set of circumstances. That is precisely why we believe hiring an experienced lawyer at the NC Eminent Domain Law Firm can potentially help improve the outcome of clients’ circumstances.
Since we've been in business we've increased the average offer for our clients by 187%*.
We strongly urge anyone whose property is destined for an eminent domain taking to get a second opinion from our experienced legal team. If we think we can help you, it won't cost you one dime in attorney's fees unless we recover more money over the government's original offer to you.
Contact us right away if your property is on the state’s radar. Or call us at 1-877-393-4990 for a free case evaluation.
* 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 12/31/18.