Can I Afford a Condemnation Attorney?
Let’s face it, legal fees can be expensive. However, most eminent domain (a/k/a condemnation) cases are handled on a contingency fee basis, which means the attorney is compensated from a percentage of the settlement or final award rather than out-of-pocket fees. This is a tremendous advantage for the landowner who avoids paying out-of-pocket legal fees. Generally, the contingency fee is based upon the amount over and above the government or condemning authority’s initial offer. Therefore, the attorney only gets paid if he/she obtains greater compensation for the landowner. However, aside from attorney fees, the landowner is generally responsible for any out-of-pocket costs and fees such as appraisal fees, court reporters, court exhibits, etc., if any.
For example, if a landowner has been offered $10,000 for the property and the contingency fee agreement sets attorney fees at 33% of the additional or “extra” money, the attorney would be paid only 1/3 rd of any “extra” money paid beyond the $10,000. Let’s say the attorney ultimately got the landowner a $40,000 settlement. The landowner would receive the initial offer of $10,000. Then, with respect to the “extra” $30,000, it would be divided 1/3 rd and 2/3 rd between the landowner and attorney with the attorney receiving $10,000 (1/3 rd) and the landowner receiving $20,000 (2/3 rds). Ultimately, the landowner receives $30,000 (the initial $10,000, plus $20,000). If the attorney could not negotiate any “extra” money, the landowner would owe nothing to the attorney; therefore, there is usually no out-of-pocket risk for the landowner.
Each case, of course, is different and must be evaluated on its own merits. The contingency fee scale can differ from case-to-case and, in some instances, an hourly fee billing may be most beneficial for a client. If you are facing a possible condemnation, contact our firm today at 770-888-7707 to receive a free initial consultation. We are committed to defending your rights to ensure that you receive the just and adequate compensation you deserve and to which you are entitled by law.
Kara Webb, Esq.
Disclaimer: Information included in this site is general information only and does not constitute legal advice. In order to provide legal advice, I, or any attorney, must know all the facts of your particular case. Please consult an attorney for advice about your individual situation. This site and its information is not legal advice, nor is it intended to be. Feel free to get in touch by electronic mail, letters or phone calls. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Until an attorney-client relationship is established, please withhold from sending any confidential information to us. photo credit: Route 54 – Lighthouse Road Construction 8May2012 via photopin (license)