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If you are a landowner who was just informed by a person that you’ve never met that you’re going to have to sell your property, it’s understandable that you’re upset and confused. The idea that someone can force you to sell your land—or worse, take it from you so long as they provide you with just compensation—feels antithetical to everything we think we know about property ownership in the United States. But the power of eminent domain is right there in the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Fortunately, you do not have to go through this alone. The eminent domain attorneys of Sever Storey are here to help you navigate this difficult and emotionally wrought issue and resolve your case as favorably as possible. Many people are confused about how precisely a lawyer can help them, however. We discuss two of the most important ways below.
When you retain an attorney to represent you in an eminent domain action, the first thing your attorney will do is determine whether the proposed exercise of eminent domain is valid. The government may only take property through eminent domain for a “public purpose.” Otherwise, you can challenge the taking itself—meaning that you may not need to sell your land at all. Courts, however, have historically taken an expansive view of the public purpose requirement and uphold most proposed condemnation actions as legal.
The law requires that the condemning authority (the party trying to take the land) provides owners with just compensation for property. Typically, a land agent representing a government or a utility company will reach out to a landowner with an offer to get the conversation started.
You have one chance to get the compensation that you deserve. Once you sign a document agreeing to sell for a particular price, you cannot go back—so retain an attorney familiar with eminent domain law who can evaluate how much your property is really worth.
At Sever Storey, we do not want to get paid for work we didn’t do. For this reason, we only collect a 33 percent fee on compensation we obtain for you above the initial offer you received. For example, if the party seeking your land initially offered $100,000, and we negotiate a sale price of $200,000, we will only take 33 percent of the $100,000 that the offer increased. In this hypothetical scenario, you would receive $167,000 after we collected our legal fees.
If you are a landowner facing a condemnation action or who believes that you may in the near future, talk to an attorney as soon as you can. The eminent domain lawyers of Sever Storey have more than a quarter-century of combined experience practicing law and are committed to helping landowners obtain the full value of their land. To schedule a free case evaluation with one of our attorneys, call our office today at (888) 318-3761 or contact us online. We maintain offices in Illinois, Indiana, North Carolina, and Ohio.
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