Has a witness on direct ever given you an unexpected answer to a key question? Did you know how to recover from this tricky situation? For a step-by-step guide, see "What to Do When Your Witness Forgets," by Elliott Wilcox at "Winning Trial Practice Techniques"--
First things first: DON’T PANIC! Far too often, attorneys (especially younger attorneys) lose their minds when they get unexpectedly bad responses from their witnesses. The worst thing you can do at this point is to give your jurors the impression that you’ve just lost the case. Chances are, the witness’s incorrect answer isn’t nearly as fatal as you think it is, so put on your poker face. If you freak out, the jury will amplify the importance of the negative answer. Just keep your cool — you can fix this.
For the complete answer, which includes a few different methods for regaining control of a failing direct examination, follow the link above.
Related post: "Stipulations That Will Streamline Trial."