There's only two weeks until Christmas, which means we're right in the heart of holiday party season.
As friends and co-workers get together to celebrate the holidays, insurance companies like Trusted Choice are reminding party hosts to consider safety and liability issues.
In some states, party hosts can be held liable for things like contaminated food, injuries or for those friends who've had a little bit too much too drink.
During Christmas party season, many people are out to eat, drink and be merry.
"Good food, good times, good people, that's what it's all about," said party host Trevor Anema.
"It's just fun to connect with friends and they're always good food and drinks," said party attendee Mary Ballard.
But sometimes those drinks can be so good, that people leave a party with a little too much Christmas cheer.
"It depends on who makes the eggnog," said Anema.
Great point—but what if a host does make a strong batch of eggnog? Could they be held responsible if a party guest gets in an accident on the way home?
"In South Dakota, the state legislature has determined that as it relates to a social host, the responsibility is in the consumption of the alcohol as opposed to the serving of the alcohol," said Sioux Falls attorney Bill Kunstle.
While South Dakota party hosts can't be held legally responsible, many agree they do have some moral responsibility to their guests.
"You've just got to use some common sense and if somebody starts drinking too much you need to cut them off," said Kunstle.
"Offering them a designated driver or a cab, some safe way to get home if you think they've had too much to drink," said Ballard.
Anema says when he hosts a party at his home, he makes sure he has a place for them to stay at his house if they've had to much too drink.
Party goers also say attendees should have some personal responsibility as well.
"If we're old enough to drink, I'd like to think that we're all responsible adults and are responsible enough to either have a ride lined up or a taxi available," said Anema.
Regarding food, Kunstle says a host could potentially be held responsible for serving contaminated food, but he's never heard of such a case in South Dakota.
To be on the safe side, be sure to follow safe food preparation practices whether you're a host or bringing a dish to a party.
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