Before You Hire A Condemnation Attorney Ask These 9 Questions

Before You Hire A Condemnation Attorney Ask These 9 Questions

When the government has condemned you land this is often referred to as eminent domain.  When faced with eminent domain, you should consider obtaining the assistance of a condemnation attorney.  Before you choose a condemnation lawyer to represent you, there are some questions that you may want to ask the attorneys you are interviewing:

  1. What is their experience with eminent domain law?  As a property owner that’s faced with condemnation one of the most important decisions you have to make is the attorney that will represent you.  Their experience in handling cases like yours and their overall experience with eminent domain and condemnation will go a long way in how successfully they represent you.
  2. How many eminent domain cases have they taken to trial?  There are many instances of eminent domain cases settled out of court.  But more often the case must be taken to court in order to achieve the full compensation that the property owner is entitled to.  The number of times that an attorney has gone to trial is a tell-tale sign of their experience and puts you in a better position as a property owner.
  3. What types of properties have they handled?  An attorney that has handled cases for a wide variety of types and sizes of properties will have well rounded experience.
  4. How much time is devoted to representing landowners in condemnation cases?  Eminent domain/Condemnation is a highly specialized area of the law with many loopholes and complexities. As a property owner, you will want to hire an attorney that regularly handles eminent domain cases.
  5. Have they handled cases like yours?  No two condemnation cases are the same, just like property.  However, there can be similarities, which would make an attorney more experienced with the specific circumstances surrounding your case and property.
  6. Do they represent property owners, the government, or both?  The term conflict of interest could apply here.  If an attorney has handled cases for the government they may by friendly with the condemning authority and/or the opposing attorney. Be aware of this situation and decide whether or not you are comfortable with it before hiring an attorney.
  7. What are the attorney fees and what do they cover?  An appropriate fee arrangement depends on the facts and circumstances of each case.  Some attorneys charge by the hour, which can lead to time spent on the case being more than dollar amount received.  Other eminent domain lawyers work on a contingent fee basis.  Fees should cover all work conducted through trial.  Other costs include appraisals, depositions and expert witnesses that usually have to be paid by the property owner.  Weigh the costs and make sure that you choose the situation where your expenses are less than your possible compensation.
  8. Are there any clients you can talk to as references?  The reputation and personal accounts of how an attorney has handled other condemnation cases can say a lot about their experience and ability with eminent domain law.
  9. Are there any appraisers you can talk to as reference?  Most condemnation cases involve an appraiser.  The appraiser estimates the fair market value for the property.  You want an appraiser with eminent domain experience that has worked with attorneys.  If they have worked with that attorney they can also attest to the experience and knowledge of the attorney.

Choosing an attorney to represent you is quite possibly the most important decision you’ll make when faced with condemnation.  Experience is the reigning theme of these questions.  The attorney you choose should be well versed with eminent domain law and have your best interests in mind at all times.  The eminent domain attorneys at Fisher Stark, P.A. have experience with eminent domain law.  If you are facing condemnation and have questions call us today to see what we can do for you, 828.505.4300. 

We proudly serve the communities of North Carolina including Buncombe County, Cumberland County, Durham County, Haywood County, Catawba County and Henderson County.