In Illinois, cities and municipalities are generally immune from lawsuits. In order to bring a lawsuit against a city or municipality, you have to show that the government acted intentionally or showed a “conscious disregard” for the safety of others. This is called willful and wanton conduct.
City and suburban sidewalks are in a state of disrepair across Illinois. A broken or unlevel sidewalk isn’t just unsightly, it’s dangerous. A small crack or a level change hidden beneath snowy conditions can pose a serious hazard to children, joggers, and the elderly. At night, the danger becomes much greater and individuals can fall victim to and suffer a fall on an unmaintained sidewalk.
Typically, cities and municipalities are not responsible for small cracks or level changes that are less than 2 inches. This is often referred to as the De Minimus rule and it protects governments from being sued if you trip or slip and fall because of a small defect in a sidewalk. But for larger cracks and level changes, cities and municipalities can be held responsible for failing to inspect and repair dangerous sidewalks.