The family of a former Leyland schoolgirl badly injured in the Alton Towers rollercoaster crash are taking legal action for damages against the theme park.
Victoria Balch, who turned 20 on Saturday, remains in a stable but serious condition in hospital and has undergone surgery for “significant leg injuries”.
She is being treated by the University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust in Royal Stoke University Hospital, where her condition is not said to be life-threatening.
Victoria, whose family live in Old School Close, Moss Side, Leyland, is a former pupil of Worden Academy.
She now attends the University of Derby, where she is studying international spa management.
Alton Towers, run by Merlin Entertainments, reopened yesterday morning following last Tuesday’s accident involving carriages on the £18m Smiler ride.
Victoria’s family are being represented by Stewarts Law.
Partner Paul Paxton said in a statement on Friday: “While it is anticipated there will be a substantial claim for damages to support Victoria in her recovery, the main focus at present for the family is Victoria’s well-being and ensuring that the investigation into the accident is carried out swiftly and vigorously.
“They have every confidence in the police and the Health and Safety Executive.
“It is expected that serious consideration will be given to criminal prosecutions.
“The family are distraught that a fun day out could turn into such a potentially life-changing disaster.”
In an updated statement the following day, he said: “We have contacted the Health and Safety Executive and hope to be able to discuss with Merlin’s insurers and their legal team as early as next week.”
He added the family remain grateful for the stream of good wishes.
Victoria attended Worden Academy and Runshaw College in Leyland.
Four people on the ride suffered serious injuries – Miss Balch, her boyfriend Daniel Thorpe, 27, from Buxton, Derbyshire, textile design student Joe Pugh, 18, and his girlfriend Leah Washington, 17.
They were airlifted to major trauma centres.
Washington had her left leg amputated above the knee, University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust said on Monday.
Sixteen people in total were injured when two carriages on the ride collided and needed rescuing from 25ft in the air
The park was shut to the public since the incident, with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) on site.
Nick Varney, chief executive of Merlin Entertainments, said: “This has been a terrible experience for everyone involved and one we sincerely regret.
“Our thoughts remain with those seriously injured and we are doing everything we can to support them through this difficult time.”