Often, the government needs only a portion of a particular property, such as a strip of land needed for street widening. In those cases, just compensation is determined not only by the value of the part taken, but also by the damage to the remaining property. Such damages are called “severance damages,” i.e., damages caused by severance of the remainder from the part taken. “Severance damage” as a general proposition, is the amount of damage to the remaining portion of the parcel which is caused by the severance of the remainder from the part taken, or by the construction and operation of the project for which the property is taken.
Severance damages may be minimal or non-existent in some cases. In others, they can be quite high — sometimes approaching the value of the entire property.
As with appraisal for eminent domain in general, severance damages is one of those areas which is highly specific to eminent domain cases. As such, it is imperative that only an appraiser experienced in eminent domain be retained to evaluate these damages. As noted previously, experienced eminent domain counsel, such as California Eminent Domain Law Group, can and do recommend to their clients such appraisers with whom the attorneys work on a regular basis.