When you hire a lawyer to represent you in an eminent domain land condemnation case, in most cases, it will be on a contingency fee basis, which means that your lawyer will get paid a percentage of what you receive once your case is settled. If you don’t recover anything, then the lawyer doesn’t get paid. If you do, then they do.
Now, in a land taking case, how that payment percentage is calculated can be complicated, because there are a number of different possible scenarios.
In the simplest of scenarios, let’s say that the State of North Carolina, through the North Carolina Department of Transportation, is getting ready to file a quick take land condemnation proceeding against you. In that case, the state will pay into the court the appraised value of what the state says your confiscated land is worth.
Let’s say in this example that they say your property is worth $150,000, then your lawyer gets involved and is ultimately able to prove to opposing council and mediation and to a jury, if the case goes to trial, that your property is really worth $250,000. The lawyer will get paid a percentage of the difference between what the state first said your land was worth and what you ultimately get.
In this case you would take $250,000 minus $150,000 to get a difference of $100,000. The attorney would be paid a percentage of that $100,000. Under limited circumstances, the court may order the condemning agency to pay your attorney’s fees. This might happen if the project is abandoned or if you are able to proof that the condemner really doesn’t have the right to condemn your land.
Now some property owners will have a different kind of condemnation case, called an inverse condemnation case, where you and your lawyer sue the government for a land that they have taken form you without paying you for anything.
In this type of case the attorney’s fee will usually be calculated as a percentage of the total amount of what the lawyer recovers for you. In addition, in many North Carolina inverse condemnation cases, you may also be entitled to recover attorney’s fees from the defendant. So, you can be paid the full amount of the case settlement, and the attorney’s fees may be paid separately by the condemning agency.
Finally, there also can be situations in land taking cases where the lawyer and paralegal team work on a flat hourly rate. These are often situations where the lawyers working on parts of your case, they are not directly related to the actual taking of your land but are closely tied to it.
If you have questions about your right in a land taking situation, contact us today. Call the experienced North Carolina Land Condemnation Attorneys of Henson Fuerst at 919-781-1107 today for a FREE consultation.
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