Based on the following sampling of case law, the range for general damages awarded for suffering from taste and/or smell impairment as a result of an accident is between $34,800- $266,939 [adjusted for 2022 inflation rates]. The general damage award amounts for each individual case below have not been adjusted for inflation. For your convenience, the Bank of Canada Inflation Calculator can be accessed here.
As described in our General Damages Guide, these awards are only for general damages which compensate you for your pain and suffering. There are other types of damages that you may be entitled to claim, such as lost income and medical care costs, depending on the circumstances of your case. To assess the total value of your injury claim, try our Injury Claim Calculator or book a free consultation.
The case law
Crackel v. Miller, 2003 ABQB 781
- The plaintiff was seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident when he was driving under the influence of alcohol and collided with a three-tonne truck with a trailer attached that broke down along the side of the road. The plaintiff suffered a skull fracture, left frontal sinus fracture, open left distal radius and ulna fracture, burst fracture of first lumbar vertebrae, and transverse fracture of third left metacarpal. The brain injury resulted in the plaintiff having cognitive difficulties such as reduced memory and aptitudes, and a loss of smell. General damages were assessed at $180,000.
Bourbonnais v. Gauvreau, 2003 ABQB 952
- The plaintiff was riding his bicycle along the highway and was rear-ended by a motor vehicle. He was wearing a helmet at the time, but still sustained a severe brain injury. In addition to the brain injury, the plaintiff suffered a broken right arm, broken rib, punctured lung, and multiple contusions and abrasions. As a result of his brain injury, the plaintiff was left with cognitive impairment which reduced his ability to learn new information, and lost his sense of taste and smell. His brain injury prevented him from working full-time as a computer programmer and from mastering new methods in his field. He received $150,000 in general damages.
Young v. King, 2000 CanLII 2819 (NS SC)
- The 34-year-old plaintiff was involved in two motor vehicle accidents about 18 months apart. She suffered extreme pain in the right side of her face, head, and neck, headaches, TMJ disorder, and permanent loss of smell and taste. The court found that the first accident was 60% responsible for her injuries, while the second was 40% responsible. She received $75,000 in general damages.
Godin v. Plourde Estate, 1996 CanLII 18788 (NB QB)
- The 19-year-old plaintiff was involved in a motor vehicle collision that occurred at an intersection. The plaintiff’s injuries were so severe that he did not recall the accident happening. He sustained a severe closed head injury and fractures to his pelvis, left tibia, right fifth metacarpal, left forearm, right wrist, and ribs. As a result of his brain injury, the plaintiff was in a coma for more than one day and suffered cranial nerve deficits, including the loss of smell and change of personality. He was found to be 30% at fault for the accident. General damages were assessed at $120,000.
Robinson v. Pearlgate Lanes Ltd. (1995), 1995 CanLII 10498 (NL SC)
- The 44-year-old plaintiff slipped and fell on the floor of a washroom next to the bar in the defendant’s establishment. He suffered a skull fracture, which resulted in a permanent loss of smell. Although the court ultimately found that liability was not made out here, they assessed the general damages provisionally at $20,000.
Targett v. Magic Mountain Water Park Ltd., 1991 CanLII 8053 (NB QB)
- The 42-year-old plaintiff slipped and fell while entering the wave pool at the defendant’s park. He suffered a skull fracture which resulted in a loss of smell and taste, dizziness, frequent headaches, and a personality change (irritable and quick-tempered). He received $28,000 in general damages.
Sivret v. Kenny, 1993 CanLII 15136 (NB QB)
- The 26-year-old plaintiff was involved in a serious motor vehicle accident in which he suffered injuries to his spinal column, a concussion, and an injury to his right knee. Due to his brain injury, he suffered lasting loss of taste and smell, a change in personality, and lost the will and ambition that would allow him to hold a job for an extended period of time. He received $100,000 in general damages.
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