Do You Really Need an Eminent Domain Lawyer?
As a North Carolina eminent domain lawyer, I hear it all the time:
“Do I really need an eminent domain lawyer?
Here’s the deal:
While you can represent yourself in your North Carolina eminent domain case, things can get complicated very quickly.
You’re almost definitely better off getting an eminent domain attorney.
While there is nothing wrong with the DIY approach to most things, it can be risky when dealing with the government’s claim to one of your most valuable assets.
“Not having an eminent domain attorney when the government takes your property is a lot like drinking dirty water. You can do it, but the result might make you sick.” — Chris Beacham
In eminent domain cases, the government wants to pay you less.
You’re also up against some big guns.
For instance, the NC Department of Transportation feels that your case is so important, they will assign at least two attorneys to try the case. Another attorney will draft the complaints, memoranda of action, and declarations of taking on behalf of the State. There are also typically dozens of engineers, land planners, appraisers, and other experts employed by the government and several contractors involved in your eminent domain case.
Do you really want to go up against that kind of legal firepower alone?
When the government takes your property under the power of eminent domain, they ultimately may file a lawsuit to do so. By design, this is an adversarial proceeding. And make no mistake, it is the government’s intent to offer the lowest possible compensation for your taken land or property.
All of the attorneys and professionals discussed above are given a large support staff and significant funding to work directly against your interest and make sure that your “just compensation” is the lowest amount that they can get away with.
That’s the brutal truth of eminent domain.
These government attorneys and other professionals are not bad people but they are charged with protecting the dollars they are given — and that means paying you as little as possible for the property that they are forcibly taking from you.
That’s why you need an eminent domain lawyer.
Why you should consider an eminent domain lawyer
Can you represent yourself in an eminent domain case?
But trying to go against two government attorneys and an entire staff intent on taking your property at the lowest cost usually doesn’t turn out well for the property owner if he or she decides to represent themselves.
So, if you’re asking, “Do I need an eminent domain lawyer?” the short answer is no, but the better answer is yes, if you want the best possible outcome.
Having an attorney on your side will help you set up your case for the best possible chance of success — which means getting the compensation you need and deserve for your land and/or property. An experienced eminent domain attorney can find weaknesses in the government’s case. They can look for case law, or even previous cases on the same project as your property, to help frame the government’s or court’s outlook on your case.
Often an experienced eminent domain attorney will have had cases similar to yours or even had properties on the same project or in the same area as your case. However, each property has unique features that an eminent domain attorney will be able to use to create the best value possible for your case.
So let’s wrap this up:
If you want the best opportunity to get the most compensation possible for your taken land or property you should have an experienced eminent domain attorney on your side.
“One of the founding principles of our country is protection of our property against a government who wants it for themselves. An experienced eminent domain attorney is the best way to stand up and make sure that these basic rights and principles are protected.” — Chris Beacham
Is the government taking your land or property with eminent domain?
You deserve justice — which means the government should pay you what your land or property is actually worth. Unfortunately, it’s in the government’s interest to pay you as little as possible. That’s where a North Carolina eminent domain lawyer can help.
For a free consultation, call the eminent domain attorneys at Riddle & Brantley. There is no obligation, and there are no attorney fees unless we win your case and get you compensation. Please call us at 1-800-525-7111 or fill out the form below.
We would love the opportunity to get you the justice and compensation you need and deserve.
Chris Beacham is an experienced North Carolina eminent domain lawyer with Riddle & Brantley, serving the entire state of North Carolina. He is also Chair of Membership & Diversity for the Eminent Domain Section of the North Carolina Advocates for Justice.