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Dreamworld faces hefty lawsuits: lawyers

AAP logoAAP 26/10/2016 Stuart Layt

A law firm has already received inquiries from eyewitnesses allegedly traumatised by the Dreamworld raft ride tragedy which killed four people.

The emergence of potential lawsuits comes as legal experts warned the park's directors they have "reason to be nervous" following Tuesday's freak accident.

Lawyers say damages claims from the victims' families and those who witnessed the incident would be expected to run into millions of dollars.

Additionally, Dreamworld owners Ardent Leisure Group faces possible Workplace Health and Safety fines of up to $3 million, while individual employees could be punished with a maximum $600,000 fine and up to five years jail.

Alison Barrett from Maurice Blackburn said the law firm had been contacted by a number of people who witnessed the incident, however she stressed in most cases the inquiries weren't about money.

"Those people aren't really interested in 'how much can I get' it's more 'what happens now, what are my rights?'," she said on Wednesday.

Queensland Law Society president Bill Potts said Dreamworld was facing a significant damages claim into the future.

"I would have thought without a doubt the claim would have been into the millions," Mr Potts told AAP.

"But at the moment the concentration must be on absolute safety, not just at that theme park but at all theme parks."

Mr Potts said damages claims were not "ambulance chasing" but act as a deterrent to rogue operators, although he didn't believe Dreamworld was an example of that.

"One of the things that keeps organisations on their toes is the cost of insurance. So they have not only a moral and a legal but also an economic imperative to ensure people's safety."

Ms Barrett said while she didn't want to pre-empt any investigation into the incident, Dreamworld had to take responsibility for the tragedy

"Any catastrophic event like this isn't an act of God. These things don't just happen, and in most cases that we act in that are similar to this, that investigation does reveal negligence, which is relatively easy to then prove."

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