The Kyoto District Court ruled on Tuesday that the relatives and employer of an epileptic driver, who killed seven pedestrians in 2012, should pay damages to the family of one of the victims of the accident. A 52 million yen (approx. US$512,000) fine was awarded in favor of the family of a 68-year old woman, who got struck by the vehicle and was killed immediately. The ruling is the first to be handed among many lawsuits filed regarding the accident.
30-year old Shingo Fujisaki, was the driver of a mini vehicle for an indigo-dyeing material sales firm that hit pedestrians crossing an intersection in Kyoto in April 2012. He had an epileptic seizure while driving and was among those who died in the accident. The court recognized negligence on the part of Fujisaki when he struck the pedestrians walking along an intersection in Kyoto’s Higashiyama Ward, injuring twelve people and killing seven.
Investigations on the accident showed that Fujisaki’s employer was aware that he suffers from epilepsy. The 72-year old company president admitted their firm’s liability on the accident but argued against the damages claim. Fujisaki’s mother and sister pleader with him to stop driving because of his condition but their requests fell on deaf ears. While it was proven that his employer had knowledge of his condition, prosecutors of the case did not file criminal charges against the firm and Fujisaki because he did not survive the accident as well. The relatives of the 68-year old woman sought 61 million yen ($601,000) in damages, but the court awarded them a little less than that.