Eminent Domain Damages

What kinds of damages can you seek compensation for in an eminent domain taking? Probably more than you think.

Eminent Domain Damages for Georgia Property Owners

If you’re facing eminent domain, nobody would blame you for being upset.

By law, the government and some private entities (like utility companies) can take your property or property rights. For many owners, eminent domain ruins their long-term plans and dreams for those properties. It’s far more than just a piece of land, and you should pursue maximum compensation if it’s being taken from you.

When the government comes for your property, it will make an initial offer. You want fair and full compensation for both the property being taken and all the many, sometimes hidden ways that your property’s usability and worth can be damaged by eminent domain. Not only might you lose property, what remains may be forever scarred, limited, burdened, and reduced in value.

Beware! It’s unlikely the government’s initial offer accounts for all of the damages that may be appropriate in your case. And while the government’s offer is almost certainly low, the stakes for you are sky high: this is likely your only opportunity to get all the compensation you may deserve.

Red alert that there's no "second chance" to get everything you may be owned! 
We can help you determine the real effect a taking has on your property and what damages you may be owed. Don’t accept the government’s initial offer – get a free case evaluation from an experienced eminent domain attorney.

Eminent domain compensation: Damages you may be owed

The government wants your property for as little as possible and they are not required to tell you about all the damages you may be owed.

Below is a list of some damages you may be entitled to when your land is taken. Different and other damages may be available depending on your case, which is why both home and business owners should consult an eminent domain attorney before agreeing to anything.

Direct damages

Direct damages is the money you can get for the property being taken. This is where many property owners stop even though they may deserve much greater compensation.

Example: GDOT takes your front yard so they can widen the nearby road. You are likely owed compensation for the land they’re taking.

Severance damages

Sometimes, taking a small portion of a property can result in serious damage to the value and usability of the property that’s left behind. The “severance” of a small portion has damaged the remainder. Experience is often required to properly spot and value this type of damage. Property owners should be aware that negotiations for severance damages can be difficult and technical.

Example: A gas station at an Interstate exit is subject to a taking that eliminates its tall signage, and a new one isn’t allowed. Even though the remaining land is still able to operate as a gas station, the value of the land for such purposes may be reduced due to the lack of a sign attracting drivers from the highway.

Easement damages

Easements are tricky. Your property isn’t being taken, but your right to use it as you please is. Determining the value of your rights can be difficult, but your attorney can help.

Example: A classic easement example is when a utility company installs power, data, or sewer lines on your property and retains the right to access the lines whenever needed. You are losing access to part of your property and are likely entitled to compensation.

Proximity damages

Has the government moved something closer to your home that might impact your ability to use and enjoy your property the way you used to?

Example: Let’s say the government widens a road right by your home from two lanes to four. The closer proximity of the road to your home, along with impacts like more noise and light pollution, may entitle you to compensation.


Land contaminated by government action makes your property worth less even when nothing is directly taken and may entitle you to compensation.

Example: GDOT takes a temporary construction easement to park its equipment on your land for a nearby road widening, but the leaky equipment or materials contaminate and damage the land.

Loss of landscaping or buffer

Buffers are not just aesthetics. Landscaping is vital to some properties, and losing a buffer may make a property nonconforming.

Example: GDOT takes a portion of your residential parcel, and in so doing, reduces the setback below the minimum required by the municipality. If you can’t obtain a variance to remain legal, GDOT may owe you compensation for a complete taking.

Division or bifurcation

What if GDOT decides it needs the middle of your property? This kind of taking can trigger several complications and do tremendous damage to the remaining property and its value.

Example: A piece of a family farm is taken for a new Interstate connector, but the road crosses between the farmhouse and barn and the actual cultivated land – making it impossible to reach the other side of your property without going miles out of the way.


Some easements or changes can stigmatize a property, reducing its value. You may be owed compensation for this loss in value.

Example: The power company takes an easement on the property behind a home and installs large, high-tension power lines. Both the easement itself and the presence of high-tension lines can often drive off some buyers, so the property’s value is likely damaged beyond the physical easement itself.

Remember! It is highly advisable to seek all possible compensation before you sign any agreement, as it is likely your only chance to negotiate for more. Consult with a skilled, experienced eminent domain attorney for help.

Lost profits

If a temporary or permanent taking causes loss of income for a business, that may be compensable. This can happen with full or partial takings, or even with easements.

Example: A quick-service restaurant suffers the loss of just a few feet on one side of its parcel – but those few feet were its drive-thru lane. Without it, the restaurant’s business suffers, and the parcel’s value may plummet.


If a full or partial taking requires you to relocate, you may be entitled to compensation for relocation expenses.

Example: A local restaurant must relocate due to its parcel being taken. Costly kitchen fixtures and equipment must be moved – but the restaurant can seek compensation for its moving expenses.

Loss of parking

When a business loses parking, it often becomes less attractive to customers simply for the lack of convenience. Also, certain zoning rules require a minimum number of parking spaces to operate a business on that parcel.

If the taking by the government puts your business under that threshold requirement for parking spaces and your business is unable to obtain a waiver, you may be unable to continue to operate your business at that location. Not only will the business be affected, but the value of the land could be drastically reduced, as well.

Example: A busy barber shop with only ten parking spaces loses half of its parking to eminent domain. This may be compensable.

Loss or reduction of access

This broad damage type refers to the decrease in property value due to decreased or altered access to the property. How you enter and exit a property may make an enormous difference in its usability, safety, and value.

Example: A restaurant might suffer if the turning lane to their business has its elevation altered, making it inconvenient for customers and impossible for large trucks. If your business has to close because delivery trucks can no longer enter, the government may owe you significant compensation.

A list of the damages you may be owed from an eminent domain taking.

Business owners: Getting just compensation for eminent domain damages

Even if you’re an experienced negotiator as a business owner, you should seek the help of an eminent domain attorney. Eminent domain is likely different from any property issue you’ve ever encountered.

For example, you’re not entitled to compensation for buildings on the land, just the land itself, and asking for building compensation can harm your case. Get a free case evaluation from a dedicated condemnation attorney before you agree to anything.

Free case evaluation – Experienced eminent domain attorney

You deserve just compensation for all the harms and losses you’re being subjected to by eminent domain, and we know how to help you.

Four of our attorneys used to work for a state DOT, so we know how the Department of Transportation operates. Since we’ve been in business, we’ve helped our clients increase their initial offers on average by over 3x more!1

We can draw on our network of professionals as needed to build your case for maximum compensation, such as appraisers, engineers, environmental scientists, land planners, and more. We advance all these costs while you pay nothing upfront – and nothing at all if we don’t increase the government’s offer.2

We front all costs & guarantee you'll pay nothing if we don't get you more than the government's offer.

If you’re facing eminent domain, don’t take on the government alone. Call today at 1-888-391-1339 or contact us online for a free case evaluation.

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What Is My Eminent Domain Case Worth?

Get a free case
evaluation today.

There are only a handful of attorneys in GA who practice eminent domain exclusively. And even fewer with DOT experience. That’s why it’s always worth it to get a free case evaluation.

Here’s how it works:

1) Tell us about your situation.

2) We research your property as needed, using DOT maps, our own technology, and experience to see the exact effects.

3) We let you know what we think a fair offer would be. This evaluation is free, and there’s no
pressure or obligation to hire us after.

But please don’t wait to act. Waiting can hurt your case, and the cost is the same: free.

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