Eminent Domain Overview
Eminent domain is a complex area of law because it involves taking private property from an individual or company for public use. This information center will provide a definition of eminent domain as well as explaining the different types of property taking that can occur.
While the actual taking of the property in eminent domain can be broken down into two broad categories: physical taking and regulatory taking, there are many subcategories based on whether the entity took the entire property or only part of the property. The entity taking the property must inform the property owner and a process must be followed to ensure the fair compensation of the loss of property to the owner.
The property owner has the right to take legal action in an eminent domain case when the process has not been followed or they have not received compensation. This process is known as inverse condemnation. They can request adequate compensation for eminent domain damages for the loss of the property. The owner of the property must be able to prove that the regulations imposed on them or the loss of property restricts their use of the property. In a complete taking, they must be able to prove that the offer made by the entity for the property did not represent the actual market value. An attorney specializing in eminent domain can request an appraisal to provide a basis for the amount of compensation requested, which may be presented to the court to appeal the actual offer made by the condemning authority.
The goal for most eminent domain cases is not to have the property restored to the property owner but to receive adequate compensation. However, in some cases, the actual loss of property may be challenged as well. The proper eminent domain strategy is necessary to protect the rights of the owner in situations where eminent domain is declared.