To me there is a difference between spilling something on an item left on the table and spilling on a person/item next to the table.
When I'm eating out and reading my Ipad - I either move it when the server comes or it is set up off to the side away from the direction the server should be serving from. Servers shouldn't be passing food over the heads of patrons. I've had that happen a couple of times - always with something hot an sizzling and spoken to the manager each time.
If I have my stuff out of their serving zone and they move it - then pass food over my item they are responsible.
I was taught to leave the Serving zone free of things including my own hands.
The worse example of server not paying attention I know was with Loren. BIL, ON, and Loren were eating in a Mexican Restaurant. BIL and ON ordered fajitas. So they cleared a space far from toddler Loren for the hot plate and built a wall of condiments between Loren and the hot plate space.
The waiter came, Ignored ON telling him to put the hot plate by her, swept the wall of condiments away (complaining they were in his way) and put the hot sizzling plate in front of the toddler. Who reached before BIL or ON could grab her. Loren ended up with a 3rd degree burn on her hand.