Can I Negotiate With The Condemning Authority On My Own Without An Attorney?
Does an entity with eminent domain authority want to use your land? Many landowners are unsure of what to do after they’ve been notified that their land will be taken to complete a public use project. If you’re a Texas landowner facing this situation, let us give you some words of advice: for the best possible outcome, hire a Texas eminent domain attorney as soon as possible.
As a Texas property owner, you are well within your rights to negotiate with the condemning authority on your own without a Texas eminent domain lawyer representing you. However, this could be a big mistake, especially if you aren’t familiar with the state’s eminent domain laws. An experienced Texas eminent domain lawyer can protect your rights and help you avoid any mistakes that could prevent you from getting the full value of your land.
Do You Need a Texas Eminent Domain Attorney?
The government and other entities with eminent domain authority in Texas are experts when it comes to taking property from private citizens and businesses in Texas. They have teams of right of way agents, lawyers and appraisers working for them. Most Texas landowners have zero experience with the condemnation process. Before you decide to go it alone, ask yourself these questions:
- Your property can only be seized by an entity with eminent domain authority. Do you know how to determine if the entity wanting to take your land really has the authority to do so?
- The Constitution guarantees you “just” compensation for your property. What does that actually mean? What is the dollar amount? How is it determined? Do you know how to determine this amount consistent with the laws of the State regarding eminent domain?
- The entity wanting your land says your land is only worth X amount. You know that it’s worth more. How do you go about demonstrating this?
- The entity only wants to use part of your land for an easement. What steps do you take to ensure they don’t damage the rest of your land?
- The entity only wants to use your property for a limited amount of time. How do you make sure they clean up their mess and restore your property to its original condition?
If you don’t know the answers to these questions, we urge you to reach out to a Texas eminent domain attorney before you have any discussions or make any agreements with the entity wanting to take your land. Even if you do know the answers to these questions, there could be many other questions you need answered before you sign any paperwork with the condemning entity.
$44,955 vs $873,824 in Compensation
The Texas eminent domain attorneys at Dawson & Sodd have been protecting the rights of Texas landowners for over a century. We’ve seen first-hand how the government and others try to lowball property owners into accepting a deal that doesn’t fully compensate them for their land.
In a recent case, an energy company offered our client $44,955 for damages to their property caused by a pipeline easement; we were able to show a jury that the company’s natural gas pipeline easement across the landowners’ undeveloped property diminished the land value and limited what the family could do with their land in the future. The jury ended up awarding our clients a total of $873,824 in compensation.
We can’t guarantee that kind of return in your case, but it does demonstrate the real value of hiring a Texas eminent domain attorney to represent you during the condemnation process.
If you’ve received notice that your property is facing condemnation, contact the law offices of Dawson & Sodd without delay to schedule a free consultation meeting with one of our Texas eminent domain attorneys. We’re dedicated to guiding Texas property owners through the condemnation process. We are eager to discuss your situation, answer any questions you may have and provide helpful legal advice on how best to proceed with your case. Call us today at 903-872-8181 (Corsicana) or 214-373-8181 (Dallas).
If you’re worried about the upfront costs of hiring one of the top eminent domain law firms in Texas, don’t be — most of our condemnation cases are handled on a contingency basis, which means there are no attorney fees unless we win your case and get you compensation and there is certainly no fee for calling us and letting us answer your questions!