Apple has often been praised for the sleek design of its retail stores. But with its sharp edges and perfectly clean plate glass facades, the stores may also beunsafe for older shoppers or customers with poor eyesight. The front door blends in with the glass that forms the front wall, and the opening was difficult for one 83-year-old New York customer to see.
The woman says she ran in to the glass and injured her nose, and is now suing Apple Computers for $1 million, alleging that the design is dangerous. She says that Apple could easily avoid the hazard by marking the glass in a way that is visible to customers with poor eyesight. The woman says that although she generally sees well, the glass was not visible to her this past winter when she went in to a store to return an iPhone. Apple has recently installed warning strips on the glass at the store where the accident happened.
Most people would assume that because many of Apple’s customers are young, that the stores don’t need to be designed with older or disabled customers in mind. However, property owners have an obligation to keep their space reasonably safe for any visitor regardless of age or disability status.
Apple has three retail stores in Wisconsin. There are no current reports of accidents at any of those locations.
Victims of an accident on unsafe premises can recover for injuries that were caused by the property owner’s negligence. Even if the injured person was partially at fault for the fall, Wisconsin property owners still have an obligation to ensure that the area is as safe as possible.