Whenever the government takes up a project for public purpose, it has the right to take over private property, if it is required for the project. The branch of law which deals with eminent domain, that is, the government’s right to take over private property is known as condemnation law. According to this law, the person whose property is taken over has the right to its full and fair market value, including damage caused to the remaining property.
Although, the government is entitled to compensate justly, it is often seen that it tries to save on the amount paid. And if the matter goes to court, the government does all it can to ensure a victory, even using the information supplied by the property owner in good faith. It is therefore advisable for a person whose property is likely to be taken over by the government to approach a competent lawyer adept in condemnation law.
Under condemnation law, a lawyer’s expertise is required for the following:
When the government decides to take over a property claiming to need it for a particular public purpose, the lawyer will ascertain if the said property is indeed suited for the intended purpose. If it is found unsuitable, the government cannot take over the property.
The lawyer dealing with condemnation law will also have the property appraised and ensure that what the government will pay as compensation is indeed fair value. This will prevent the property owner from being cheated on the compensation price.
The takeover might be complete, but the government might have paid only part compensation. If a lawyer is hired, he will pursue the matter and ensure that the balance compensation is paid to the property owner.
Condemnation law also allows for negotiation. There are instances when lawyers successfully negotiate for some changes in the public project which will not adversely affect the project , but will ensure that there will be minimal impact on the property owner.
Also, as previously mentioned, if the matter goes to court, the government’s lawyers will not hesitate to use information supplied by the owner against him. So it is better to take a lawyer’s advice before submitting any information to the authorities.
Finding a lawyer who takes up condemnation lawsuits in the U.S. is not difficult. All one has to do is use a search engine to find such a lawyer in a particular city or town.