Barnsley woman seeks compensation after losing leg in Smiler crash at AltonTowers

A Barnsley woman who had her leg amputated after a rollercoaster crash at Alton Towers is seeking compensation which could run into millions of pounds.

Wednesday, 19th September 2018, 14:03 pm
Updated Wednesday, 19th September 2018, 14:07 pm

Lawyers representing victims Leah Washington, from Barnsley and Vicky Balch, from Leyland in Lancashire, have served court proceedings on Merlin Attractions Operations Limited, which runs the Alton Towers theme park in Staffordshire.

The women were on the Smiler rollercoaster when their carriage crashed into a stationary one on the tracks in June 2015.

Leah Washington

Their lawyers at law firm Stewarts described their injuries as '˜life changing,' with both woman needing leg amputations afterwards.

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They are still undergoing rehabilitation today - over three years later.

Paul Paxton, Partner and Head of Personal Injury at Stewarts, said: '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.' 

Merlin, which runs Alton Towers, admitted negligence in operating the rollercoaster, and was fined £5 million in September 2016.

.An investigation established that a ride engineer had mistakenly restarted the Smiler ride while a stationary carriage was on the track in front of it.

Judge Michael Chambers QC described the accident as a '˜catastrophic failure'.

Leah was on a date with boyfriend Joe Pugh at the time, with Joe suffering shattered kneecaps.