Illness or injury might cause your loved one to pass away at a hospital, but what happens when medical negligence is to blame? From elder abuse in full-time hospital facilities to a doctor making a catastrophic error during surgery, death as the result of negligence may leave you with few answers. However, if you are planning a lawsuit on behalf of your loved one, you may first want to understand whether you have the right, as well as familial position, to arrange and carry out the legal steps necessary to build a case.

If your spouse died of medical neglect, then you have a legal right to sue over her death, such as if she dies as the result of medical error during childbirth. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that about 900 women die from pregnancy-related causes each year, and some of those deaths may be caused by doctor error. If you believe this is the case, you may want to reach out to an attorney as soon as possible.

If your loved one was a parent, then you likely have the right to sue over his or her death due to medical negligence. However, you may want to look into state law regarding living wills and power of attorney rights before you proceed. If another adult sibling or other individual has current power of attorney, he or she may need to be consulted before you can set a lawsuit in motion.

There are many different factors that might affect a medical negligence lawsuit, but knowing whether you are in a position to sue or not may be one of the most important.