Victims of the horrific crash at Alton Towers last week could receive more than £1million in compensation after the theme park's owners said they "accepted full responsibility" for the tragic events.
The crash, which left one teenager with an amputated leg above the knee, happened last Tuesday when two carriages on the Smiler ride collided.
Leah Washington, 17, is one of the four people seriously injured, with a fifth person also being treated for internal injuries.
17-year-old Leah Washington was one of the four victims airlifted to hospital following the crash
Merlin Entertainments, which owns Alton Towers, has written to all of the 16 people involved and said that, regardless of the investigation's outcome, management accepts full responsibility and that compensation will be provided.
A spokeswoman for the company said: "Irrespective of the outcome of the current investigations into the causes of the accident, in these letters we have accepted full responsibility to those who had been injured in the accident and confirmed that we will ensure that compensation will be provided to them.
"We have recommended each of the injured guests or their families instruct a lawyer and submit a claim for compensation which we will ensure is dealt with swiftly and sensitively."
Merlin Entertainments said it has also been working with Health and Case Management Ltd (HCML) – a leading firm of specialist independent rehabilitation providers - to provide support for those in last week's crash.
Article continues below slideshow:
16 Four Hurt In Alton Towers Rollercoaster Crash
A lawyer experienced at dealing with such compensation claims told the MirrorOnline that victims of the crash could receive more than £1 million.
Nick Turner told the MirrorOnline: "Compensation payouts for life changing injuries should start at £250,000, but those lesser injured and upset by the accident could be looking at payouts anywhere between £5,000 and £10,000.
"Teenagers can be badly affected by witnessing accidents, but each case has to be looked at individually.
"Nervous shock is quite a terrible condition and those suffering from it can be traumatised. People who have witnessed the horror may require counselling for quite some time.
Emergency services worked to free trapped passengers
“Terrible traumas such as this can lead to long term health problems and psychological problems and one must be very aware of that.
"As a parent I am only too aware of how teenagers can feel as a result of witnessing any type of unpleasantness at all - let alone such a horrific crash on what should be a fun day out.
"Some of the conditions leading from this trauma could take months if not years to deal with and overcome.
"We'd expect compensation claims in circumstances such as this to stretch way above the £1 million mark."
Joe Pugh, who was on a first date with Leah, suffered two broken knees and extensive hand injuries when the carriages collided. He has since tweeted, thanking the public for their support.
Leah Washington and Joe Pugh
Vicky Balch was forced to spend her 20th birthday in hospital after having both of her legs crushed, and has been described as being in a "serious but stable" condition.
The 20-year-old from Leyland, Lancashire, suffered potentially life-changing injuries in the crash. Her solicitor said last week that she will make a "substantial claim for damages" in order to support her recovery.
Daniel Thorpe, a 27-year-old hotel assistant manager from Buxton in Derbyshire, also remains in hospital.
On Monday, Alton Towers reopened to the public after shutting its gates for nearly a week following the crash.
The park was accused of not ringing emergency services soon enough, after it was revealed that its staff waited 10 minutes before making the first 999 call.
- Alton Towers Victim Vicky Balch Spends 20th Birthday In Critical Condition
- Kay Burley Completely Brutalises Alton Towers' Chief Executive In Toe-Curling Interview
- Alton Towers' The Smiler Ride To Stay Closed 'For The Foreseeable Future'
- Alton Towers Victim, Who Was On First Date With Girlfriend, 'Broke Both Legs'
- Victims Of Alton Towers Rollercoaster Crash Have Been Named
- Video Reveals Moments After The Alton Towers Rollercoaster Crash
- 4 Seriously Injured In Alton Towers Rollercoaster Crash