In any civil trial, the entity charged with weighing the evidence and issuing a verdict (whether it’s a jury in a jury trial or a judge in a bench trial) has many tasks. One of the most important ones is deciding which witnesses are credible and which are not. The law gives a jury (or a judge in a bench trial) wide breadth in making these decisions. That latitude figured into a recent Louisiana Court of Appeal decision upholding a judgment in favor of an injured driver. Although witnesses differed on who ran the red light, the trial judge was within his bounds to find the injured driver’s witnesses more credible.
The accident leading to this case involved a fairly common set of facts. In March 2014, Vicke Mosley was driving south on a four-lane road in Shreveport when she approached an intersection that was regulated by traffic lights. Mosley drove through the intersection where her car collided with that of Jacob Griffin, who was driving east on the intersecting road. Each driver claimed that their light was green. The testimony of other witnesses was mixed, with some saying Mosley entered the intersection on a yellow light and others pointing to Griffin for advancing while his light was red.