1. At the outset, a conviction for dangerous driving can include a penalty of having your licence removed. Accordingly, I would advise you to get yourself a good solicitor who is experienced in Road Traffic cases to represent you in both the criminal proceedings which the Gardaí have just served on you and also in the civil compensation claims which some drivers are making against you. You need to realise at the outset, that the fact you were fourth in a line of traffic and hit the one in front of you will be regarded as evidence you were travelling too fast irrespective of why you say so, or what reason you give. In such circumstances, you are best off plead guilty to a lesser charge of careless driving or driving without due care & attention and then get your solicitor to do a plea in mitigation. With any luck you will get off with a fine. This will not affect your licence.
2. However, you need to realise that in civil compensation claims the fact you will more than likely get a conviction for careless driving will mean that at least one other party will be successful in suing you. Namely the car in front of you. However, you should ensure that any other compensation claims, particularly of those further in front of you, from the North, are strenuously resisted. Additionally, you should instruct your solicitor to sue the van behind you for compensation and to seek to recoup some of the money from this driver's insurance.
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