Claiming compensation for loss of taste and smell

If you’ve recently lost two of your five senses – the ability to taste and smell things, it can be a difficult and traumatic experience as you become accustomed to facing the variety of practical problems this creates.

While there are many ways that a person can lose their sense of smell or taste, it’s usually caused by some kind of head trauma, nasal or sinus disease, respiratory infection or botched surgery. While it could be temporary or permanent, it can have a big impact on your life and even make you less able to detect possible dangers in the event of a gas leak, smoke or being able to tell if food has rotten.

This can cause a decline in the quality of their life as a person can no longer enjoy the simple pleasures in life such as eating good food or enjoying pleasant smells. As a result, a person can develop depression and even psychological issues and in some cases, a worker may have to give up their job entirely as they are unable to use these two important senses.

The loss of these two senses is usually caused by head injuries and if permanent, it’s likely that the frontal lobes in the brain, particularly the first cranial nerve will be damaged. Jobs where a person can sustain serious head injuries are more likely in physically demanding roles such as warehouse work or construction industries which require working at height and within confined spaces.

Any number of incidents could occur, for example a fall from a ladder, scaffolding or machinery onto hard surfaces. A head injury could be sustained from a trip where the head carries most of the impact, or if the worker runs the risk of objects falling from a height. In all of these instances, hard huts should be provided to staff by their employers along with other protective equipment so as to reduce the risk of head injuries.

It’s also possible to lose your smell or taste if exposed to toxic fumes which are inhaled on a regular basis in excessive qualities. You could have even lost these senses through invasive surgery which has damaged the nerves around the nose and mouth, or experienced an allergic reaction while under anaesthetic.

If you believe that your loss of taste or smell is the result of any of these instances of negligence, then you may be eligible to claim compensation. While the compensation awards will vary widely due to each individual being affected by loss of taste or smell differently, the awards are usually high.

If you’ve lost both your sense of smell and partial taste, compensation awards are often in the region of around £22,650, while complete loss of smell and partial taste regularly produce awards between £19,000 and £23,000. For loss of smell independently the figures are around £14,000 and £20,000 and compensation for loss of taste on its own is worth around £10,000 and £15,000.

It’s worth noting that these awards are reflective of the cost of medical care and the impact this will have on your loss of senses along with any current jobs or future employment possibilities.

To determine your claim’s worth, get in touch with a personal injury solicitor who can assess your claim and advise you on any compensation awards which you may be able to receive.

Tim Bishop is senior partner of Bonallack and Bishop, specialist accident compensation claim solicitors. For more information about claiming compensation, visit their specialist site at or call them directly on 01722 422300.