If you are bitten by a dog in a state that has enacted strict liability dog bite laws, then you don't have to prove the dog owner's negligence to be compensated. Merely proving that you did not provoke the dog and you were not trespassing is enough to entitle you to the compensation.
If your state doesn't have strict liability dog bite laws, then you must prove that a dog owner was negligent when seeking compensation from the down owner. Here are some of the things you can prove this negligence:
The Dog Wasn't on a Leash
Dog owners or walkers are supposed to have their animals on leashes when out in public places. For example, it's illegal to walk with your dog into a shopping mall without putting it on a leash. Therefore, if you are bitten by such a dog, then you can point to the lack of a leash to establish your claim. In fact, breaking any dog laws (be they of the state, city or any jurisdiction) can make one guilty of the injuries caused by the dog.
The Dog Was on a Prohibited Location
Some businesses don't admit animals on their premises. You have probably seen "No Dogs Allowed" signs in some places. There are many reasons dogs may be prohibited from some places. For example, if a place is noisy and would irritate dogs, the owners may put such a restriction in place for the sake of the dog as well as other visitors to the premises. A dog owner that violates such a restriction is liable for the injuries the animal may cause.
The Dog Owner Did Something Unreasonable
A dog owner who does something reasonable with their dog, who then ends up biting another person, also becomes liable for the injuries. For example, anybody with a dog who doesn't like kids shouldn't take their dog to a school ground. Therefore, if such a dog ends up biting your kid on a school ground's playground, then you can use the dog's history with kids to seek compensation for your kid.
Another example is a person who leaves their dog with a strange kid without any adult supervision, and the dog ends up hurting the kid. A reasonable person wouldn't do that, and the dog owner should be held liable for the damages.
As you can see, there is no single factor that makes a person liable for dog-related injuries if strict liability laws don't apply. You have to examine the circumstances of the injury to prove the owner's negligence. A dog bite attorney can help you with the analysis.
Contact a law firm like Dunbar & Dunbar for more information and assistance.