There are several important differences between these types of cases. One of the main ones is that civil cases – such as personal injury cases – do not result in criminal sentences (fines or jail time, for example). Civil cases involve private disputes between persons and/or organizations. They allege that a legal duty has not been upheld and seek money damages to “make the victim whole again.” Criminal cases are brought by the government, not by victims.
Some injuries, such as those from assaults and drunk driving accidents, for example, may involve both criminal and civil cases. These are separate matters in the eyes of the law.