The power of eminent domain and how it affects landowners can be complicated enough. To add to the confusion, the government and courts use terminology that is likely unfamiliar to landowners throughout an eminent domain case. The following are brief explanations of some common terms you may hear in these cases.

Condemnation – Condemnation means the same thing as “eminent domain,” which is the taking of a private property for a public use in return for just compensation to the landowner. Local, state, and federal governments have condemnation powers under the 5th and 14th Amendments to the United States Constitution.

Public Use – Public use is one of the requirements for eminent domain to be lawful, meaning that the project or purpose for which the lands are condemned will serve a public purpose or benefit. Public use commonly includes expanding or building highways, building courts or schools, improving utilities, and more. However, courts have recently held that commercial developments can also count as public use.

Just Compensation – While the United States Constitution gives the government the power to take property, it also provides the right of just compensation to landowners. Landowners are entitled to compensation for any land that is taken, used, or damaged by the government. What amount is considered to be “just” will depend on many factors and landowners often have to negotiate with the government in order to receive what is truly just.

Inverse Condemnation – Generally speaking, the government will pay just compensation to a landowner before officially taking their property. If the government unlawfully takes property and fails to properly provide just compensation or otherwise follow the required procedures, landowners then have the legal right to take action called inverse condemnation to seek the compensation they deserve.

Call an Experienced Eminent Domain Lawyer for More Information Today

Condemnation cases are complex and landowners are often unsure of their rights and the proper procedures to protect those rights. At the law firm of Sever Storey, LLP, we are here to help landowners protect their rights in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, North Carolina, and more. If you have any questions or concerns, please call us at 888-318-3761.