Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Feb 9, 2020

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There is no legal requirement to get a lawyer in a condemnation action. If you decide to hire a lawyer to assist you with your condemnation action, you will need to pay for the attorney yourself. However, not having a lawyer is generally a very bad idea in any legal proceeding, and this is especially true in condemnation actions where the government is trying to condemn or take your property by eminent domain. 

Getting Legal Help in Condemnation Proceedings

Condemnation may occur whenever the government believes that taking your property is in the public good, such as if the government wants to build a road, park or public building on your land. When condemnation occurs, the law mandates that you are entitled to just compensation for your property. In other words, the government can’t just take what belongs to you.

Unfortunately, “just compensation” can be a subjective thing, and you may be offered less than the property is actually worth or less than it will cost you to rebuild the equivalent house on a similar piece of land. Because it can be hard to determine exactly what just compensation is and, because even if you don’t believe you are getting a fair deal, it can be hard to prove, you will want a lawyer on your side during the condemnation proceedings.

A lawyer can research legal precedent, help you determine what you should be getting based on similar condemnation cases, and assist you in compiling the right evidence to convince the court to agree with you. 

The right to just compensation in a condemnation action isn’t just a legal right—it is a legal right protected by the Constitution of the United States of America. Having a lawyer during this sometimes complicated legal process is essential if you want to protect the rights guaranteed to you by your forefathers.