As an adult can you sue your adoptive parents for extreme sexual and emotional abuse? 30 Answers as of May 29, 2013

My brother and I suffered from sexual and emotional abuse at the hands of our adopted mother. It has completely destroyed us and who we could of been. They are pillars of the community, well known and adored by many. We are both adults now and don't think it is fair that we are so tortured while she is so adored.

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Law Office of Mark J. Leonardo
Law Office of Mark J. Leonardo | Mark Leonardo
Sexual abuse is certainly actionable and likely criminal (e.g., the recent Sandusky case). You should obtain a free consultation with a personal injury attorney that has experience with sexual abuse cases to ascertain whether you have any statute of limitations problems.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/8/2012
Havens & Lichtenberg PLLC
Havens & Lichtenberg PLLC | Michael Lichtenberg
I cannot give a definite answer because you did not provide enough information. But it is more likely than not that you can assert a claim. The nature of the claim and framing of the issues will require a detailed analysis of the facts of the case.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 8/8/2012
The Lucky Law Firm, PLC
The Lucky Law Firm, PLC | Robert Morrison Lucky
You may have a civil claim against your adopted parents; however, have you also reported them to the local police? If not, this may be the first step in a very lengthy process. Unfortunately, my office does not handle these types of cases. Your case, as most all other cases, will depend on many factors - such as time period that has passed since the abuse, the length of the abuse, and reasoning behind there being no report. I am so sorry that this has happened to you two. Hopefully, someone out there will be able to help you guys and help make you whole again. Best of luck.
Answer Applies to: Louisiana
Replied: 8/8/2012
Law Office of Ronald G. Draper | Ronald G. Draper
I recommend consulting with a lawyer to determine whether your beliefs or feelings support a meritorious claim. Good luck to you.
Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 8/7/2012
Dennis P. Mikko Attorney at Law | Dennis P. Mikko
You may be able to sue if the applicable statute of limitations has not passed.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 8/7/2012
    David F. Stoddard
    David F. Stoddard | David F. Stoddard
    If you are over 26 years of age, it is probably too late ( you have 5 years past your 31st birthday, unless you have a recently recovered memory of the abuse). If it is not too late, yes, you have a cases and by all means should consult an attorney. There is no statute of limitation on criminal charges. You should report it to law enforcement first.
    Answer Applies to: South Carolina
    Replied: 8/7/2012
    Law Offices of Mark L. Smith
    Law Offices of Mark L. Smith | Mark L. Smith
    Yes you can sue but there is a statute of limitations. Usually 3 years after you obtained the age of majority. Unless the facts revealed themselves as a result of suppressed memory.
    Answer Applies to: Rhode Island
    Replied: 8/7/2012
    Craig Kelley & Faultless
    Craig Kelley & Faultless | David W. Craig
    Certainly there are criminal and civil ramifications from your adopted mother. You should notify both the criminal authorities as well as a civil attorney. There are many hurdles in making these type of claims and you would need to discuss these in detail with an attorney experienced in handling these type of cases. There can be statute of limitations issues as well as insurance coverage issues. But until you actually meet an attorney you won't know whether your claim is worth pursuing or not.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 8/7/2012
    Alvin Lundgren | Alvin Lundgren
    Yes you can, including criminal charges.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 8/7/2012
    Law Office of Gregory Crain | Gregory Crain
    Answer Applies to: Arkansas
    Replied: 5/29/2013
    Law Offices of David W. Hibbert
    Law Offices of David W. Hibbert | David W. Hibbert
    You local state laws will determine your ability to proceed with such matters. This is best discussed in person at a local attorney's office. Most claims by minors for injuries have an extended statute of limitations allowing for bringing suit for a limited time after reaching majority/adulthood.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/6/2012
    Fairlie & Lippy, P.C.
    Fairlie & Lippy, P.C. | Steven Fairlie
    Yes, there is a statute of limitations but it extends into adulthood. Contact a good lawyer for advice on the specifics of your case.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 8/3/2012
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC | Timothy J. Klisz
    You likely have one year beyond your 18th birthday to file any suit.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/3/2012
    James M. Osak, P.C.
    James M. Osak, P.C. | James M. Osak
    Talk to a local attorney to discuss. There are MANY varibles in this kind of suit. There also is a statute of limitations you have to deal with. Hope this helps.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/3/2012
    DEAN T. JENNINGS, P.C. | Dean T Jennings
    Yes, if the statute of limitations hasn't passed.
    Answer Applies to: Iowa
    Replied: 8/3/2012
    The Gardner Law Firm, PLC | Brandon Gardner
    Your problem might be statute of limitations. However, in general, parental immunity has been abolished, and parents are not immune from lawsuits brought by their minor children alleging negligence; however, exception applies, and bars suit, where (1) alleged negligent act involves an exercise of reasonable parental authority over the child, or (2) alleged negligent act involves exercise of reasonable parental discretion with respect to provision of food, clothing, housing, medical and dental services, and other care.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/3/2012
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    The statute of limitation to bring an action starts running when you turned 18.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/3/2012
    Law Office of William L Spern | William Spern
    Depends how long a go the abuse occurred. Consult a local attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/3/2012
    Timiney Law Firm
    Timiney Law Firm | Leigh Anne Timiney
    I am sorry this happened to you. There are two different things you can do here, bring a civil lawsuit against your adoptive parents or pursue the matter criminally. Under criminal law in Arizona, there is not statute of limitations for child sexual abuse, however there is a 7 year statute of limitations for child physical abuse. In civil law, there are no specific statute of limitations on child sexual abuse. Bringing a case like this can be very difficult and very emotional and there can be significant costs to you up front, which you may or may not be able to recover in your claim. The burden will be on you to prove the abuse. Additionally, you mentioned your adoptive parents are pillars in the community, but do they have the financial resources to compensate you if you were able to prevail in a civil claim? I suggest you contact a civil attorney and obtain a consultation with respect to your issues. Good luck to you.
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 8/3/2012
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A.
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A. | Paul L. Whitfield
    Is your mother worthy of a judgment (does she have any separate property the sheriff can get to if you get a judgment) If I were you I would talk to the best PI lawyer I could find and ask him if you should pursue any criminal process as well.
    Answer Applies to: North Carolina
    Replied: 8/3/2012
    Law Offices of Ronald A. Steinberg & Associates | Ronald A. Steinberg, BA, MA, JD
    Yes, but you had better be able to prove it. It also depends on how old you are. In Michigan, you can sue in your own name as an adult up to reaching the age of 19. After that, you are barred by the Statute of Limitations.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/3/2012
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    You should consult with a local PI attorney who handles sexual abuse cases. Whether or not you can sue will probably depend on your present age and the circumstances for the wait.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/3/2012
    Law Office of James J. Rosenberger | James Joseph Rosenberger
    Yes. The timing of the lawsuit is crucial to your ability to legally bring a claim though. I would contact an attorney as soon as possible to get more detail. I successfully settled a significant case of this type when the abuse occurred 25 years prior although that was an exceptional case. The timeline is crucial.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/3/2012
    Jones Jones & Mosley PA
    Jones Jones & Mosley PA | Bernard Jones
    Depending on your particular circumstances, you may have a cause of action against the adoptive parents. Much more information is need to properly evaluate your claim however.
    Answer Applies to: Mississippi
    Replied: 8/3/2012
    R. D. Kelly Law Firm, P.L.L.C.
    R. D. Kelly Law Firm, P.L.L.C. | Robert Kelly
    You can sue anybody about anything, but the question is whether you would win. Plaintiffs have the burden of proving their cases, including the extent of the damages alleged.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/3/2012
    Tuttle and Associates | Jeffrey Brook Tuttle
    The short answer is yes. Remember...the ability to sue and successfully suing are two different things.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/3/2012
    Law Office of Pho Ethan Tran PLLC
    Law Office of Pho Ethan Tran PLLC | Pho Ethan Tran
    Yes. You can sue them for compensation or you can also report them to the police.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 8/3/2012
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