Personal injury law is often referred to as tort law, and cases are handled in civil, rather than criminal, court. A person may face both civil and criminal charges for the same action, but the key differences include a lesser burden of proof in civil cases and the fact that civil penalties usually take the form of money damages paid to the injured party.
A plaintiff who is successful at making a personal injury claim may be entitled to past and future medical costs, lost income, pain and suffering and emotional distress compensation. Many personal injury claims settle out of court, with the plaintiff receiving a set amount to compensate for all of those things. When an out of court settlement does not occur, the personal injury case may make it to a judge or jury who will decide first on fault and then on damages.