Loss of Taste and Smell Compensation Claims

If you have lost your sense of taste or smell due to someone else's negligence, we can help you to claim compensation.

You can make a compensation claim with the help and support of a personal injury solicitor.

Your solicitor will ask you about what happened, and they will collect evidence to prove what caused your injuries. Your solicitor will also work out how much money you can claim, based on your injuries, lost earnings and other expenses.

We can help you make a personal injury compensation claim on a No Win No Fee basis.

In this article


Taste and smell are closely related senses. Loss or impairment of either sense, or losing both taste and smell, can have a detrimental effect on your quality of life. These symptoms can sometimes lead to weight loss and clinical depression.

A loss of taste or smell can be caused by head trauma, or exposure to certain chemicals. If you have suffered an injury that affects your sense of taste or smell and a third-party is at fault, a compensation claim may be possible.

Head injury

Do I have an injury claim?

As a basic rule, you will be eligible to make an injury claim if you sustained an injury:

  • in the last 3 years, and;
  • someone else was to blame, and;
  • that person owed you a duty of care.
Check my claim online

Injury claim eligibility - Common questions

What if a child was injured?

The 3 year rule does not apply to minors.

A claim can be pursued for anyone under the age of 18 by a parent, guardian or litigation friend. The injured child has up to the age of 21 to start an injury claim on their own behalf.

Read more about claiming injury compensation on behalf of a child.

How much compensation can I claim for an injury?

The amount of money you could claim for your loss of smell or taste will depend on:

  • the seriousness of your injury, and
  • any financial losses or costs you have incurred.

At the start of your claim, your solicitor will consider the many ways your injuries have affected your life. Your solicitor will take these considerations into account to calculate the correct compensation award.

This calculation will factor in 'general damages' and 'special damages'.

General damages

General damages are awarded for pain, suffering and loss of amenity (PSLA).

Awards for general damages are set by the Judicial College and published in their guidelines for personal injury awards.

Special damages

Special damages are for financial losses and expenses you have incurred as a result of the accident.

What can I claim for after an injury? (see list)

Examples of special damages (losses you can claim for) include:

  • Lost earnings (including future earnings)
  • Medical treatment costs
  • Physiotherapy
  • Travel costs
  • Costs of care
  • Costs of adapting your home or car

Impairment of taste and smell compensation amounts

The following impairment of taste and smell payouts refer to the Guidelines for the Assessment of General Damages in Personal Injury Cases, Fifteenth Edition by the Judicial College.

These tables are used by solicitors or by the courts as a starting point when calculating your compensation.

Example Amount
Injury to senses
Loss of taste £15,300 to £19,920
Loss of smell £19,920 to £26,230
Loss of smell and some loss of taste £26,230 to £31,220
Total loss of smell and taste Around £31,220

What is the average injury compensation for an injury claim?

The Judicial College injury tables give a approximate idea of the ranges awarded for different injuries.

However, the money you would receive following an injury will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.

Your injury compensation will be calculated based on the unique impact your injuries have had on your life and your ability to work, and on the actual financial losses you have incurred as a result of your injuries.

What if I am not yet sure of the extent of my injury?

If you have not yet sought medical attention, your solicitor will arrange a medical assessment for you ASAP. If you are awaiting test results, a claim can still be started. Once the extent of the injuries are known, the settlement can be calculated.

Will I have to pay tax on my impairment of taste and smell compensation?

If you receive financial compensation following an impairment of taste and smell injury, specific legislation ensures that you do not have to pay tax on it. This is the case no matter whether the compensation is received as a lump sum or as staggered payments.

Calculate my injury compensation

Calculating how much compensation you can claim for loss of taste and smell can be complicated.

Our injury compensation calculator tells you if you may have a claim, how much compensation you could claim, and what you can claim for.

Find out what your injury claim could be worth now:

Calculate my claim

How long does a claim for loss of taste and smell take?

The length of time needed to settle a loss of senses claim can vary significantly.

A simple liability accepted injury claim could be completed in a month or two. If liability is denied, it could take considerably longer. On average an injury claim should take 4 to 9 months. Read more: How long will my claim take?

How else can a solicitor help me?

Your solicitor will handle your injury claim from the initial FREE case evaluation, through to the financial settlement.

Your solicitor will work with other specialists to provide caring and sensitive support and help you with:

  • Financial support: interim payments while you are unable to work.
  • Advice: on personal injury trusts, tax and welfare benefits.
  • Coordination: with rehabilitation providers and therapists.
  • Access: to treatment and therapies not always available on the NHS.

Understanding loss of taste and smell

Taste and smell are known as chemical senses. This is because they enable detection of any substance - whether air, water, food or drink - from its unique chemical signature.

Smelling and tasting begins when substances release molecules which then stimulate special nerve cells in the nose, mouth and throat. Messages are then sent to the brain, and specific smells or tastes identified. If any of these nerve cells are damaged, or any of the corresponding receptors in the brain become damaged, then impairment can occur.

Impairment is usually the result of damage to the olfactory systems (used to detect smell), and this is most common in compensation claims. However as taste is over 75 percent based on smell, both are often affected.

  • Loss of smell is medically known as anosmia
  • Loss of taste functions of the tongue (which only includes the ability to indicate texture and distinguish between sweetness, sourness, bitterness, saltiness, and umami) is called ageusia

Professional diagnosis of a smell or taste condition forms the basis of claim. A solicitor will arrange a medical examination as part of the claim process. In addition, the cause of the loss of senses must be established.

What are the common causes of impairment?

For a claim to be made, the full or partial loss of taste or smell (or both) must be attributable to the negligence of another person. For this type of sensory impairment, there are two main causes:

  • Head injury or trauma
  • Exposure to certain chemicals or toxic fumes

Other causes can include injury during ear, nose and throat surgery, or certain medications.

Head injury

According to Fifth Sense, a charity for people affected by taste and smell disorders, head injury is thought to be one of the most common causes of smell loss. The extent of loss is determined not only by the severity of the injury, but also by the part of the head damaged.

Loss of smell can be caused by damage to the frontal lobes - where smell is processed. Alternatively, it can occur due to damage of the nerves which travel from the olfactory receptor cells to the brain. It can also result from damage to the nose itself.

Such injury could occur in a range of circumstances but, most commonly in claims, are often the result of an accident in the workplace or a road traffic accident.

Exposure to chemicals or toxic fumes

Although less common, exposure to certain chemicals, such as insecticides, solvents and heavy metals (such as cadmium, chromium, nickel, and manganese), can have an adverse effect on the olfactory system. Not only can they alter a person's ability to smell, but they can also cause irreversible damage.

In most instances, toxic agents adversely influence sense of smell by directly damaging the olfactory neuroepithelium (a neural tissue) - located in the upper recesses of the nasal chamber.

Exposure to such toxins can occur as a result of general air pollution or in the workplace. It is where it occurs in the latter, a claim can be made.

Establishing liability

Who is liable depends on the individual circumstances in which the injury occurred.

If head trauma which caused loss of smell and taste was the result of a road traffic accident, the other driver could be liable if they were proven to be at fault. Under common law all drivers have a 'duty of care' towards other road users. If they caused harm, there actions would be deemed negligent.

Alternatively, if impairment occurred due to involvement in an accident at work which resulted in a head injury, or through exposure to toxic fumes at work, the employer could be held liable.

A range of legislation, including the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health 2002, require employers to identify risks and provide a safe work environment. If they do not, their actions or inaction would be deemed negligent and, if identified as the cause of the impairment, would make them responsible.

For medical negligence, such as injury during surgery, the medical staff or hospital could be liable.

Will I have to go to court?

Highly unlikely. Solicitors settle the vast majority of claims out of court.

Less than 5% of personal injury claims go to court. Generally, only very complex cases, or those where liability cannot be resolved, end up in court.

Cases that do ultimately go to court are decided by a judge or magistrate, not a jury.

Even if the claim does go to court, it is very unlikely you will have to attend.

Read more:

Will my injury claim go to court and what if it does?

No win, no fee - the facts

No win, no fee means that your solicitor will not charge you any legal fees if your injury claim is unsuccessful. 'No win, no fee' is also known as a 'Conditional Fee Agreement' or 'CFA'.

No win, no fee - our guarantee

Our no win, no fee guarantee means there is no financial risk in making an injury claim - even if you don't win your claim. Read more about making a No win, no fee claim

What do I pay if I win my injury claim?

Your injury solicitor will receive a success fee which is deducted from your compensation, after your claim is settled. The solicitor's success fee can be up to 25%. You and your solicitor can agree the success fee before you start your claim.

What do I pay if I do not win my injury claim?

If your injury claim is not successful then you do not have to pay any legal fees at all. Your solicitor may take out insurance to ensure there will be nothing to pay.

Why do most solicitors charge 25%?

25% success fees are charged by most law firms as this is the maximum fee that the Ministry of Justice allows them to charge. impairment of taste and smell claims can take a solicitor hundreds of hours work and they receive nothing if the case is lost. The success fee will be subject to your individual circumstances and the actual fee may vary. Call us for more information.

How we can help you

Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you, and the highly-experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning injury claims.

If you have any questions, or would like to start a No Win No Fee claim, we are open:

  • 8am to 9pm weekdays
  • 9am to 6pm on Saturday
  • 9.30am to 5pm on Sunday

Call us for FREE advice on 0800 376 1001, or arrange a call back from a friendly, legally-trained advisor:

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Injury FAQ's

Can I claim for someone else?

Yes. In certain circumstances, it is possible to claim compensation on behalf of another person in the capacity of a 'litigation friend'.

If an injured person is either too young or vulnerable, too injured or otherwise unable to claim on their own behalf, their litigation friend can handle the claim process on behalf of the injured person.

The litigation friend will be responsible for communicating with the solicitors, and for making decisions in respect of the claim.

Read more:

Claiming on behalf of another person.

Can I claim if I feel I was partly responsible for my accident?

Yes. You may still be able to claim compensation even if your actions may have contributed to the accident.

However, if you were partly to blame (known as contributory negligence), your compensation may be reduced and it may be more difficult to prove liability.

Read more:

Claiming compensation if you were partly responsible for an accident.

How long do I have to make an injury claim?

In general, you have a time limit of up to 3 years from the date of the injury to make an injury claim.

The last date you can make a claim is known as the claim limitation date - after which your injury claim becomes 'statute barred'.

Can I claim for an injury after 3 years?

Possibly. The general rule for adults is that a claim must be started within three years.

However, the three-year countdown starts on the day you learned of your injury or illness. This will usually be the date of the accident, but could be the date your doctor gave you a diagnosis.

If you were injured as a child, you do have up until your 21st birthday to make a claim.

There other circumstances that can also impact the limitation date. Call us now on 0800 376 1001 to find out if you are still able to claim injury compensation.

In reality, there are a number of factors that can affect whether an injury claim will be taken on by a solicitor.

Calculate your claim limitation date

Will I have to visit a solicitor's office to start a claim?

No. You will not need visit a solicitor's office. Personal injury claims are handled by email, post and phone.

Should you need to have a medical, this will be arranged at a medical centre near you or at your GP's surgery.

Read more:

Will I have to visit a solicitor's office?

I need the money now - what are my options?

If you are unable to work and have bills to pay, you may be able to claim an interim compensation payment.

An interim payment is an advance on your compensation payment. Any amount you receive in interim payments would be deducted from your final compensation payment.

Read more:

How to I get an interim compensation payment?

Howard Willis, Personal injury solicitor

Howard Willis, Personal injury solicitor