Visitor Question

Can I sue for mental illness caused by child abuse?

Submitted By: Jordan (Gulf Shores, Alabama, USA)

I was abused repeatedly as a child. I was grabbed by my hair and lifted up and repeatedly spun around. I also repeatedly had my head slammed into the wall. This was just one scenario of many I faced as a child. I was also whipped with extension chords. I am 27 now and have been in and out of the mental hospital.

I want to sue for the mental side effects I’m still experiencing from my child abuse. Is this possible? I don’t think there’s a statute of limitations on prosecuting child abusers, is there? Can I sue for my pain and suffering? Thank you for any information you can give about this.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.


Dear Jordan,

Under the

Alabama law, Section Ala. Code § 6-2-38(l), there is a two (2) year statute of limitations, or time limitation after the incident takes place, for filing a sexual abuse claim. The statute of limitations period can be “tolled” until two years after a victim turns nineteen years of age.

To toll means the two year time period doesn’t begin until two years after a sexual abuse victim turns nineteen years of age.

In your case, there is no evidence of sexual abuse. From the facts you present, the abuse was assaultive, but not sexually assaultive.

As a result, your abuse would have been subject to the two (2) year assault statute of limitations.

That period could have been tolled for two years after you turned eighteen. At age twenty seven, the statute of limitations has long since passed. As a result, it would appear you are barred from pursuing a successful assault case.

Learn more here: About Child Abuse & Restitution

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney.

Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call 888-972-0892.

We wish you the best with your claim,


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One comment on “Can I sue for mental illness caused by child abuse?

  1. William says:


    I am not from Alabama, nor have I ever even practiced there pro hac vice. That said, most jurisdictions follow a “discovery rule” when determining when the statute of limitations began to run.

    I believe the question is not when it happened, but when you knew or should have known that the abuse caused your condition. People repress terrible things. Your mental illness is very likely latent in nature.

    I’m a lawyer, and I was terribly abused as a child. Not physically, per se. I was subjected to much more creative acts. A friend of mine told me about a psychologist named Erikson and his work on the stages of development. Check it out.

    Only sue if the action will help you in some way. Revenge is for the weak. He who holds a sword in his hand carries murder in his heart.

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