1. ITV Report

Alton Towers Smiler crash victims to sue park owners

Vicky Balch (left) and Leah Washington (right) both had leg amputations following the accident Credit: PA

Lawyers for two women who had leg amputations after a crash on the Smiler ride at Alton Towers have confirmed they are suing for damages.

Vicky Balch and Leah Washington were among those left badly injured following the accident at the theme park in June 2015. Both have been having ongoing rehabilitation since the incident.

Lawyers representing victims of the Smiler crash today said they have served court proceedings on Merlin Attractions Operations Limited (Merlin) for damages.

Meera Chauhan and Vanisha Singh from Walsall were also injured in the crash. Lawyers say they have been dealing with the ongoing psychological effect on their lives.

"Our clients suffered life-changing injuries as a result of the accident. Whilst money cannot make up for what they have endured over the past three years, financial security can at least help the victims to lead a full and active life. Regrettably, where such serious injuries are sustained, it can take many years before the extent of losses can be established.”

– Paul Paxton, Partner and Head of Personal Injury at Stewarts, representing the Smiler crash victims
Vicky Balch (fourth from left) and Leah Washington (right) both lost a leg in the crash. Joe Pugh (second right) was also seriously injured. Credit: PA

Alton Towers operator Merlin Attractions was fined five million pounds at Stafford Crown Court in 2016, after admitting health and safety breaches over the Smiler rollercoaster crash. The fine is believed to be a record for the industry.

"From the outset we have admitted liability and have engaged fully at all times to achieve settlement for all the claimants as quickly as possible. The claimants’ lawyer has confirmed to us that this is a purely procedural filing to preserve their clients’ rights in relation to the standard three year limitation period, and that certain claims are not yet ready for settlement due to their complex nature. Settlements rely upon the provision of certain information from the claimant to make a fair assessment and we have provided appropriate support including interim payments while the assessments continue. We are on standby to conclude settlement discussions on the outstanding claims as soon as they are ready.”

– Merlin Entertainments plc