When should I file the paperwork to take my neighbor to court for not paying a vet bill incurred because their dog killed my cat?

UPDATED: Dec 3, 2011

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When should I file the paperwork to take my neighbor to court for not paying a vet bill incurred because their dog killed my cat?

My next door neighbor’s dog attacked my cat and we had to put him to sleep. She (my neighbor) has agreed to pay the vet bill. I had to pay $50 on the day we put my cat to sleep and the rest is due by the 27th of this month. She has stated that she will pay me the $50 that I had to pay out of pocket in a week’s time and pay the rest of the bill by the 27th. Next Tuesday marks a week’s time since she told me she would pay the $50. I need to know when I should file the paperwork to take her to court should she not pay me. Should I go ahead and file on Wednesday should she not pay the $50 by Tuesday?

Asked on December 3, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If there was an agreement that the neighbor would pay by a certain date--for example, Tuesday--then you could indeed file a lawsuit the very next day--so, for example, Wednesday.

However, think about whether it is worthwhile to do so. You do not indicate your state, but all states have a filing fee for bringing a lawsuit; even for small claims court, it's usually $25 - $50. Prosecuting the case will also take you time, such as time away from work. It may not be worthwhile to sue over the amount of money at stake.

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