A Knoxville man drove a Chrysler 300 through a parking lot of a shopping center and crashed into the wall of a restaurant, killing one person. According to prosecutors, the driver was sober at the time of the car accident, but he was criminally negligent because of a medical condition which rendered him incapable of safely operating a motor vehicle. He suffered from multiple sclerosis, which left him unable to remove his foot from the gas pedal.

The man has no criminal history, which qualifies him to receive a maximum sentence of up to two years in jail. The defendant agreed to the sentence on Nov. 22 and was granted judicial diversion. This means he will not serve time in jail, and the conviction will not appear on his permanent record, provided he has no further charges filed against him for two years. In addition, his license has been suspended for two years. The surviving family has filed a civil lawsuit against the man, which is currently pending.

When someone is killed by the careless or negligent acts of another, the family may feel additional emotional pain and suffering. Some families may gain a sense of justice and closure by receiving a settlement in civil court.

A personal injury attorney can discuss the case with family members to determine what type of compensation to seek. The plaintiffs may also seek compensatory damages, which are meant to pay for medical or funeral expenses, lost wages and emotional suffering. In cases where an accident was the result of extreme recklessness or negligence, the family may choose to seek punitive damages, which could serve as punishment for the negligent party.

Source: WBIR, “Driver in fatal crash at Tomato Head guilty of homicide“, Jim Matheny, November 22, 2013