After all of the discovery, motions, and attempts at settlement are completed it is time to go to trial, where the case will be decided.
I have seen numerous reports making varied estimate, but the general consensus seems to be that only 2-5% of cases actually go to trial, the other 95-98% are resolved in some fashion before trial.
However, for those cases that get there, the trial is the opportunity for the “facts” of the case to be determined. Either the Judge or a jury will be the fact finder, but in either case, both parties, through their attorneys will present evidence to the fact finder. This will be in the form of testimony and exhibits. This part of the litigation process is what everyone imagines court to be like, jurors sitting in the jury box, witnesses in the witness stand, and the attorneys questioning and cross-examining each witness.
After all parties have presented their evidence the fact finder will render their findings on a number of issues that have been submitted by the parties prior to the trial. Thus, the fact finder does not come out and declare a winner and loser, but rather indicates how they have decided the specific jury questions that have been submitted for them to answer.
Depending on the outcome of the trial, and the in-trial rulings of the Judge during the case, each party has to decide whether or not it wants to appeal the outcome.