When a drunk driver is involved in an accident in which someone is killed or injured that accident is investigated by the police. They arrest the drunk driver. The case is given to the State Attorney’s office, they file a criminal charge, it’s assigned to a judge and the judge sentences the drunk driver to jail time. A fine, driver’s revocation and restitution to the victim is also handled in this process.
The victim on the other hand who was injured or the family of someone who was killed in a drunk driving accident has the right to bring a civil charge or civil claim against the drunk driver who caused the accident.
The victim is a witness in the criminal case but they are the plaintiff or the person who actually brings the civil claim when they sue the drunk driver for their own pain, suffering, injury loss and all of the harms and losses that occurred.