How Does the Eminent Domain Process Work?

The process for exercising eminent domain will vary depending on who the condemning authority is. For example, in North Carolina, the process for a private entity condemning property is different from the standards and procedures that the North Carolina Department of Transportation must follow. In fact, the North Carolina Department of Transportation must follow a different body of statutes than the other authorities that seek to exercise eminent domain.

            It is important to note that a condemning authority doesn’t suddenly decide to take a property. Projects that require the exercise of eminent domain are large and usually take years of planning. An evaluation of the property (or properties) is usually done long in advance of an owner knowing about the project. After the government decides that a particular set of properties need to be condemned, it must then have an appraisal completed for each property in order to make an offer to the owner.

            A landowner should typically refuse the first offer that is made on their property. If the owner refuses to voluntarily take the offer, the government can then decide if it needs to file a lawsuit against the owner in a condemnation proceeding. Many times, the government might settle by offering a better price for the land. This may sound a bit frightening. However, it is just a legal formality.

The lawsuit will be filed in the district court where the property is located. Also, for the suit to be proper, the authority filing the condemnation lawsuit must deposit the amount of their original offer with the court. This money is yours and represents the bare minimum that you will receive. The process will usually take up to a year. However, landowners should consult with an eminent domain attorney because the process might be only 120 days depending on the type of taking being pursed.

Our firm focuses on three practice areas: Disability, Personal Injury, and Eminent Domain. Every practice area has attorneys who have expertise in their respective area of practice. 

Chad Brown is a North Carolina Board Certified Social Security disability law specialist. Mr. Brown helps Social Security disability claimants at all stages of the disability process. He also works with people that have Long Term Disability denials and with people that are injured by drugs and defective medical products.

Your Questions Answered

What Is the Public Good for Purposes of Eminent Domain?

The question above asks a question that seems to coincide with one of the two main restrictions that the constitution places on the government before it can take private property. However, what is being referred to here as “public good” is actually referred to as...

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Can Eminent Domain Be Used for Economic Development?

This question was brought to many Americans’ attention in 2005 after the decision for Kelo v. New London was handed down by the United States Supreme Court. In that case, the Court stated that government could condemn property and convey it to private entities for...

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Can Eminent Domain Be Challenged?

The state and federal government do have the inherent right to exercise eminent domain. This inherent right is not expressly given in either the United States Constitution or the North Carolina Constitution. However, those documents do act to restrict the government’s...

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