You are currently viewing What Is Inverse Condemnation In California?

The glory that was Greece,
And the grandeur that was Rome.

-Edgar Allan Poe

Inverse condemnation in California allows you to sue the government if the government damaged your property.

Here are the specifics.

Inverse Condemnation Law

California Constitution article I, section 19, reads “[p]rivate property may be taken or damaged for a public use and only when just compensation…has first been paid to…the owner.”

In other words, if the California government damaged your property “for a public use,” then it owes you money.

Inverse Condemnation Elements

You need to prove 2 things: 1) that the California government took or damaged your property; and 2) that the intended behavior was for public use . At that point you can demand “just compensation” from the government.

Of course things are never that simple. The tricky part is showing that the behavior was intended to be for “public use.” And you must show that government “substantially participated” in the intended behavior.

Inverse Condemnation Benefits

There are several benefits: 1) you do not need to file a Government Claim, which I discuss here – How to file a claim against the City of San Diego; 2) your burden of proof is lower than negligence because you do not need to prove foreseeability; and 3) attorney’s fees and expert costs are recoverable under Code of Civil Procedure 1036.

This area of law is complicated, but speak to a San Diego Property Damage Attorney about your rights.

Questions? Contact Me for a free consultation.

Evan Walker

Evan W. Walker is a La Jolla attorney who has practiced law since 2008. He has practiced law throughout California, Connecticut, and Louisiana.

Evan worked for and defended insurance companies during the first 7 years of his practice. Since 2015, he has represented people with personal injury and property damage claims and insurance disputes.

Evan’s practice is devoted to serious personal injury claims and catastrophic property damage claims. Areas of focus include security claims against bars and other businesses, government tort claims, fire and flood claims, and inverse condemnation. On behalf of clients, Evan has fought insurance firms, international companies, cities, bars, and casinos.

Evan regularly shares his expertise with other attorneys by teaching courses on insurance and inverse condemnation. He has taught several continuing legal education courses to Attorney Credits, a nationwide CLE company, and ProLawCLE, another nationwide CLE company. He also contributes to various podcasts and publications.


  • Member, State Bar of California
  • Member, San Diego Bar Association
  • Member, Consumer Attorneys of California
  • Member, Consumer Attorneys of San Diego
  • Member, La Jolla Bar Association
  • Member, La Jolla Village Merchants Association
  • Member, San Diego Chamber of Commerce