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

Can Eminent Domain Take Your House?

The question assumes that eminent domain is a person or entity that can do something. Eminent domain is a tool, not an entity or person. It is analogous to a specific type of wrench that allows a mechanic to perform a specific task. The idea that the government may...

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Can Eminent Domain Be Used for Private Use?

Although to some it might seem inherently wrong for the government to take a private citizen’s property and give it to a private entity, that can indeed happen. The United States Supreme Court in Kelo v. New London, a landmark Supreme Court case in 2005, established...

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Can Eminent Domain be Stopped?

When challenging an action for eminent domain, the property owner generally has two avenues. The two avenues that can be used to stop or challenge a taking are found in the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution. First, the property owner can challenge the...

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