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Eminent Domain Lawyers Near You

Joel Francis Murray avatar
Joel has a broad range of experience that includes administrative law, appeals and rulemaking, business and corporate law, consumer protection, government affai...
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Joel has a broad range of experience that includes administrative law, appeals and rulemaking, business and corporate law, consumer protection, government affai...
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Human rights are considered fundamental, indivisible, and inalienable. They bring a measure of protection to the lives, property, and environment of people. They also bear obligations for others to uphold in how they treat those around them and what obligations they are owed in return.

As much as rights belong to different categories, some are especially foundational for establishing rights across other classes. These rights manifest mostly as civil rights.

One of these civil rights is the right to own and peacefully enjoy the property. This right enables private individuals to acquire land and property, and use it in whatever legal way they choose, whether residential or commercial.

But there is a limitation to that right. The government charges property taxes. Landowners must pay these property taxes to continue to maintain ownership of the property. Defaulting property taxes would mean the government could confiscate and reallocate the property. This satisfies the theory that all land, and consequently the property attached, belongs to the government, and landlords are merely on an extended lease that the government can terminate.

With that logic holding water, it is pertinent to explore the power of the government as the condemning agency revoking this "lease" even when the landlord does not err in his acquisition and usage of the land. This area is known as eminent domain, and the laws regulating it have come to be regarded as eminent domain law. It is the area of law that deals with the power of the government to compulsorily acquire private property for public use, such as the exploitation of natural resources, and the requirements for the exercise of such powers.

What Is an Eminent Domain Lawyer?

An eminent domain lawyer, or an eminent domain attorney, is a legal practitioner trained and licensed to practice eminent domain law. Eminent domain lawyers are well versed in property law and how those laws function within the context of eminent domain. They can offer legal advice to private property owners in the event their property is going through the eminent domain process, as well as offer legal representation in an eminent domain lawsuit.

What Does an Eminent Domain Attorney Do?

If you are on the brink of an eminent domain lawsuit and seeking out an eminent domain lawyer, some of their services include the following:

  • Consultation: An eminent domain lawyer knows the position of the law in the exercise of eminent domain and how those processes work. They can offer legal advice on the next steps a private property owner can take and what to expect if the government has put up their property for compulsory acquisition.
  • Legal Representation: An eminent domain lawyer can represent clients in a lawsuit in the event an eminent domain action goes to litigation. The lawyer can represent the client in the negotiations and settlement process or as their attorney in the event the eminent domain process gets to court.
  • Property Valuation: Eminent domain attorneys assist clients with determining the fair market value of their property to demand as compensation from the government.
  • Legal Documentation: Domain lawyers help draft and review legal documentation and processing during the eminent domain process. This may involve drafting or reviewing a written offer, ensuring notices and processes are properly served, and others.

When to Hire an Eminent Domain Lawyer

Eminent domain actions happen quickly, so it’s important to be timely when hiring the services of an eminent domain lawyer. Some circumstances in which you could hire an eminent domain lawyer include the following situations:

  1. When an eminent domain process has been instituted. This effectively means that the government has identified your property for compulsory acquisition. When you get served the proper documentation, that sets the acquisition process in motion. At that time, you can secure the services of a domain lawyer to walk you through the entire process.
  2. When an eminent domain process has gone to litigation. Going through an eminent domain action without proper professional and legal help may frustrate the entire process. If there is a breakdown in negotiations or the matter is going to litigation, you could hire an eminent domain lawyer to legally represent you.
  3. When eminent domain is being exercised without due process. The power of eminent domain vested in the government is not absolute. Due notices and documentation must be served within specific timeframes, and the Fifth Amendment ensures that the process cannot take place without just compensation for the landlords or private companies in ownership of the property in question. These property owners can hire an eminent domain lawyer if the process is being forced through without due process.

How Do I Choose an Eminent Domain Attorney?

It’s important to secure the services of the best eminent domain lawyer near you so you can access the most effective representation possible. This can be daunting, so it can be helpful to know what to look for in eminent domain lawyers near you and how to find them.

Start by conducting an online search to find eminent domain attorneys near you and read up on their websites, past cases, and reviews. This offers you an insight into their specializations and strengths, as well as their services and costs. Moreover, an inquiry into ethical records and other issues at the local bar association and recommendations from colleagues could also prove to be a helpful filter in your search.

How Much Does The Eminent Domain Lawyer Cost on Average?

Eminent domain lawyers tend to vary from other kinds of lawyers in their method of calculating costs. Rather than calculating a flat fee or leveraging an hourly charge, domain lawyers usually calculate their rates on a contingency basis. This setup means they’ll be compensated with an agreed portion of the compensation recovered from the condemning agency (the government).

The portion charged may vary due to the location and experience of the attorney. However, some may charge costs based on other systems, and it is best to approach your lawyer to negotiate a convenient system for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should the government exercise eminent domain?

The government can exercise the power of eminent domain if they see the need for your property in a project for public use, such as the construction of public buildings, resource exploitation, mining, etc.

Will the government pay fair market value for my property?

Probably not. The government will attempt to pay as little as possible for a condemned property, which is why you should enlist the services of a domain lawyer to help you get the best deal.

Must I accept the government's offer in an eminent domain case?

No. You have several rights in an eminent domain process, which could include challenging the government process, making counter-offers, and even rejecting the offer entirely in some cases. An eminent domain lawyer can acquaint you with your eminent domain rights and advise you on the best course of action.