When you think about life-changing injuries, loss of taste and smell is hardly likely to cross your mind. The fact is, loss of taste and smell can have a considerable impact on your quality of life. In addition to being a traumatic experience, losing these senses can also create various practical problems.
If you believe that your loss of taste and smell resulted from some sort of negligence, you may be entitled to file a claim for compensation.
Understanding Loss of Taste & Smell
The senses of taste and smell are inextricably linked through the body’s chemical sensing system.
When odour receptors in the nose and upper throat detect smells, they send a message to the frontal lobe of the brain. This is the part of the brain that processes and identifies individual smells. Anything that obstructs any part of the process can adversely impact your ability to smell. This can happen whether a problem arises in the nasal area, the brain, or the nerves that transmit messages from the nasal area to the brain.
Taste receptors are located in the mouth, back of the throat, and nasal cavities. When you eat, these taste receptors send a message to the frontal lobe in the brain, where individual tastes are identified. Loss of taste can result from injury to the mouth, nose, throat, brain or the nerves that transmit messages from the receptors to the brain.
When your sense of smell is affected, you are more likely to find that all foods start to taste the same and you cannot tell different foods apart.
Depending on the location and extent of the damage, loss of taste and smell may be partial or complete, and may be temporary or permanent.
What Can Cause Loss Of Taste And Smell?
There are many ways that you could lose your sense of taste or smell. A stuffy nose or blockage are common causes during allergy season but this is just temporary. Both senses should be fully restored when your allergy symptoms subside.
The more problematic issues are usually caused by some type of head or brain trauma, respiratory infection, sinus or nasal disease, or botched surgery. These are some of the more common factors that can result in loss or smell and taste:
- Head or brain trauma – Trauma to the head or brain is one of the most common causes of smell and taste disorders. An injury to the nerves in the mouth, nose or throat, the nasal passage or the frontal lobe of the brain can cause smell and taste disorders. Falls from height onto a hard surface, being struck on the head by an object falling from a height, or being involved in a road accident can cause head and brain injuries.
- Exposure to toxic chemicals or fumes – While a single exposure may not harm your senses, inhaling certain fumes regularly can affect your smell and taste receptors. You may be at high risk if you work in an industry that involves manufacturing or packaging of certain solvents or insecticides.
- Medical negligence – Medical negligence that causes any damage to the nerves around the nose or mouth during ear, nose and throat surgery can upset your sense of smell and taste. An allergic reaction to certain medications can also have the same result.
Consequences Of Losing Your Sense Of Taste Or Smell
Losing your sense of smell and taste can impact many areas of your life.
Even a partial loss of smell could impair your sense of taste, causing you to lose interest in eating. This can affect your nutrition, leading to unhealthy weight loss and malnutrition. It can also compromise your immune system and aggravate other medical conditions. For example, you may add extra salt in an attempt to add more flavor to your food. This can result in high blood pressure or kidney problems. Adding more sugar can worsen your diabetes, creating a host of other problems. Feeling depressed at the thought of eating the same bland-tasting food every single day is not uncommon.
Smell and taste disorders can also be life-threatening as it damages your ability to detect things such as spoiled food and beverages, poisonous fumes, leaking gas or fire.
Claiming Compensation For Loss Of Taste And Smell
If you think you’ve suffered a loss of taste and smell due to somebody else’s mistake or negligence, you should consider contacting our personal injury solicitors for a free consultation. Most personal injury solicitors offer a free first consultation that you can avail of to determine your right to claim compensation for loss of taste and smell.
During this consultation, the solicitor will assess your case and accordingly advise you for or against pursuing a loss of taste and smell compensation claim. If you have a claim that’s clearly in your favour, the solicitor will guide you towards the next steps in the legal process.
How Much Compensation For Loss Of Taste And Smell
The below compensation amounts for loss of taste and smell are advised by the Judicial College and relate to general damages (general damages and special damages are explained here) so should be used as a guide only.
- £36,770 for total loss of taste and smell.
- £30,870 to £36,770 for total loss of smell with significant loss of taste.
- £23,460 to £30,870 for loss of smell.
- £18,020 to £23,460 for loss of taste.
If there are contributory factors such as a brain injury then the guidelines for brain injury compensation would also need to be considered.
No Win No Fee Loss Of Taste & Smell Claims
The majority of solicitors process personal injury claims on a No Win No Fee basis. Put simply, if you cannot afford to pay by the hour, most solicitors will offer to essentially fund your claim using a No Win No Fee agreement. According to the terms of a typical No Win No Fee agreement, you do not have to bear any expenses associated with the claim while it is on-going. Your solicitor will cover all expenses until the claim is settled. You only pay a percentage of the compensation awarded if you win the loss of taste and smell claim and receive compensation. This fee is usually calculated as a set percentage of the settlement that is awarded to you. You don’t pay anything if your claim is unsuccessful.
With a No Win No Fee agreement you should have to not pay any out of pocket expenses at any time, nor do you take any financial risks. At the same time, it boosts your chances of winning compensation as you will have a legal professional representing you.
Personal injury claims generally have a 3 year time limit so speaking to a solicitor early is important as it can take time to gather all of the supporting evidence and get the medical testimonies that may be necessary to put together a strong loss of taste and smell compensation claim.
If you would like further advice regarding a loss of taste and smell claim from a solicitor please contact us today and one will be available to assist.