Many landowners are not very familiar with the issues involved in condemnation cases because they never thought that eminent domain1 would affect them. For this reason, owners facing condemnation actions have numerous questions that they should feel free to ask an experienced attorney. The following are some examples of frequently asked questions and brief explanations regarding this type of case. Of course, once a lawyer knows the specifics of your situation, they will be able to give you more detailed answers regarding your individuals case.
Will I actually lose my property?
Some property owners may be under the assumption that they can avoid the condemnation of their property by the government. However, you can only successfully challenge eminent domain actions under very specific circumstances. Though it may be difficult to believe that the government actually has the power to take your land away, the government regularly and successfully does just that for many types of projects. You should always take an eminent domain notice seriously and discuss your case with an attorney who will be able to inform you whether any challenges or defenses apply in your case.
Should I accept the government's offer?
Another common assumption is that the government will make a fair offer to compensate you for your land. This is rarely the case, however, as the government is looking to avoid liability like anyone else. The first offer is generally inadequate and you should never accept less than you deserve for your land. Instead, a lawyer can help determine the true fair market value of your property and negotiate with the government for just compensation.
Will my case go to court?
In many cases, owners are able to reach a favorable settlement agreement2 with the government for compensation out of court with the assistance of a qualified attorney. If you are unable to do so, your case may go to trial and a judge will make the decision regarding how much you should receive in return for the taking of your property.
Again, landowners facing eminent domain actions should have numerous questions and the experienced condemnation attorneys at the law office of Sever Storey, LLP can help. Please do not hesitate to call us at 888-318-3761 for assistance.