In the United States, unlike many parts of the world, civil and criminal cases are handled under two separate and distinct areas of jurisdiction. Civil laws are in place to resolve disputes between individual parties, while criminal law deals with offenses that have occurred against the government or state. The type of law that applies to a situation depends on the circumstances. Knowledge of the difference between civil and criminal jurisdiction will help you know how to proceed, should you face a situation which calls for legal action. It is always beneficial to seek the guidance of an accomplished personal injury lawyer if you are unsure whether your situation falls under civil or criminal jurisdiction.