The Legal Department represents the Forest Preserves of Cook County in lawsuits filed against, or by, the Forest Preserves, including lawsuits involving personal injuries to Forest Preserves visitors, disputes with adjoining landowners, employment matters and contract disputes. The Legal Department is also responsible for drafting and enforcing ordinances.

Other responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

Additionally, the Legal Department handles employee complaints and litigation matters that involve administrative bodies such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Illinois Labor Relations Board and the Cook County Commission on Human Rights.


Submitting a Claim

The Legal Department works to investigate and resolve claims filed by citizens who allege they have been harmed by some act or omission by the Forest Preserves. To ensure that your claim against the Forest Preserves is thoroughly reviewed by the Legal Department, it is important to adhere to the following guidelines:

  • To initiate the claims process, you should begin by completing the Incident Report Form and including all pertinent documents.
  • Ensure that all sections of the form are properly filled out, signing where necessary and using “N/A” for any questions that do not apply to your situation. Failure to submit a fully completed report along with the necessary documents could result in the denial of your claim.
  • Additionally, it is advisable to include supplementary information, such as photographs or relevant documents. If your claim pertains to property damage, please provide two repair or replacement estimates.

Following the submission of your claim, Forest Preserves staff will initiate an investigation, and you will subsequently receive a determination via mail. It is important to note that completing the form does not guarantee acceptance or payment for damages incurred. The investigation may result in a determination that the Forest Preserves has no liability for the claim.

You have the option to submit your claim form either via email to or by mail to the Forest Preserve District of Cook County, Attn: Legal Department, 69 W. Washington St., Suite 2010, Chicago, IL 60602.

Claim Status

Please be aware that typically, claims may take time to process, which consists of reviewing materials submitted in your packet, conducting an investigation into your claim, contact with witnesses or other individuals noted in your claim as well as coordination between the various Forest Preserves departments prior to a determination. To prevent processing delays, it is essential to promptly report any changes in your address or telephone number.