What is “just compensation” in an eminent domain case?

On Behalf of | Nov 15, 2022 | Eminent Domain |

When property owners in Ohio face an eminent domain case, they usually have quite a few questions. Why? Well, these types of legal cases just aren’t something that is as common for people to be involved in, as opposed to family law cases or personal injury law cases, for example. There are always public projects going on, but oftentimes a “taking” by a government entity or other entity authorized to use the power of eminent domain doesn’t prompt a legal case.

The term “just compensation” is one term that can lead to a lot of questions for property owners. If, for example, a property owner has decided that the taking cannot be challenged and, instead, the focus of their energy should be on getting maximum value for their property, the term “just compensation” will become crucial.

“Just compensation” defined

So, what is “just compensation” in an eminent domain case? The term has its roots, in this context, in the Fifth Amendment of the US Constitution. That part of the constitution states that private property cannot be taken for public use without just compensation to the property owner. Throughout the years, the idea of “just compensation” has essentially been distilled down to the idea of fair and appropriate compensation for the property owner.

Of course, that still remains fairly subjective. That is why appraisers and their determinations can be so crucial in an eminent domain case. Their opinions of property value can swing the decision of what, exactly, “just compensation” is in any given eminent domain case.