Retail store displays located in store aisles are liabilities only if they are obvious safety hazards to customers. A display might pose a risk to customers if it has sharp edges, is a clear tripping hazard or is proven to be a foreseeable hazard for shoppers.
Retail store owners have an obligation to ensure the safety of customers when placing displays in trafficked areas. If a customer is injured as a result of a display, liability comes into play if the customer proves injuries were foreseeable. For instance, store employees ignore safety rules and pack too many items on display shelves. The display topples over and hurts a passing customer. The store is liable if a lawyer proves to the court that store employees had prior knowledge that overstocking shelves posed a safety risk.
Sometimes the display itself is not a liability, but an accident occurs as a result of an unexpected hazard. For example, a bottle of syrup on a display shelf is accidentally knocked to the floor, spilling syrup all over. The spill is ignored by employees, and a customer slips and falls, resulting in an injury lawsuit. The court must decide if the injury is the result of employee negligence or an open and obvious spill that was avoidable. Failure to warn customers of the hazard may result in the store being held liable.