Many things can contribute to this:
- Drowning (in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories the player has a breath meter which has to run out for the player to be wasted).
- Damage from explosions.
- Damage from being shot.
- Trapped in an exploding vehicle.
- Catching fire.
- Standing for too long on a electrified railroad, resulting in the player being shocked. (GTA 1 & GTA 2)
- Repetitive damage from fists or melee weapons.
- Damage from falling off a high point, or failing to open parachute (GTA San Andreas, The Ballad of Gay Tony).
- If the player has completed the Paramedic side mission in GTA San Andreas, CJ will gain 50% more health, resulting in that he will not be wasted if falling, even from the highest points or planes. It is possible to exploit this glitch without the Paramedics side mission; if the player has their maximum health fully maxed out, they will survive with a miniscule amount of health.
- Running too fast on stairs, and therefore falling off, though this deals very little damage. (GTA III Era)
- Being run over by a passing vehicle.
- Stumble down the steps while drunk (GTA IV).
- Thrown through the windshield at mid-to-high speeds (GTA IV).
- Damage from bailing or falling off a bike (GTA IV, GTA LCS, GTA VCS, and GTA Vice City ).
- Damage from bailing out of a moving vehicle (GTA IV).
- Misusing the Rocket Launcher or other weapons with wide damage radius (shooting too close to the cars or on the wall).
- Crashing at high speeds (GTA IV).
- Getting hungry at least 48 hours that the player was not eating anymore (GTA San Andreas).
- Failing to throw a Grenade in time (GTA IV).
- Letting go of the ladder while sliding down, thus hitting the ground hard (GTA IV)
- Trip and then fall to the ground when going on top of a moving vehicle (GTA IV)
- Induce vomiting after eating 11 meals in a small amount of time (although the meals themselves max your health out, so the damage from vomiting can't be lethal – GTA San Andreas)
- Crashing the plane torwards objects, thus exploding with the player inside (GTA San Andreas)
- In GTA San Andreas random plane crashes occasionally occur in the vicinity of Carl as he drives or walks around the state. A direct hit can cause major damage to Carl and/or make the vehicle he's driving in catch fire and explode.
- Sliced then thrown in the air by helicopter blades (GTA IV)
- Shot down, while in a plane or helicopter (e.g. in GTA San Andreas, if the player flies over the No-Fly Zone, SAM-rockets will be fired at the plane/helicopter)
- Crashing a helicopter at high speeds (GTA IV)
- Smashing into a propane tank (GTA IV)
- Smashing into a gas station stand (GTA San Andreas)
As a result of being Wasted in the GTA III Era (except for GTA VCS where you can bribe the hospital staff to keep the weapons you'd normally lose) the player will lose all of their weapons and $100 ($1,000 in GTA III), the same as being Busted. In GTA IV however, the player is fined 10% of their money ($10,000 max) and gets to keep their weapons, and in GTA San Andreas, if you date Katie Zhan (a nurse) you are able to keep your weapons upon death. In all games, any mission the player was on will be failed.
- In the German version it says "Außer Gefecht" which is translated to "knocked out".
- There is a glitch in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas that if you get wasted in an area that isn't unlocked to the player (ie Bone County before Yay Ka-Boom-Boom), the player can keep their weapons even if CJ isn't dating Katie Zhan. This doesn't always happen though.
- In GTA2 a special term "toasted" is used to indicate, that the player has died due to catching on fire (particularly by the effects of Flamethrower), or "shocking" to indicate, that the player has died by electricity – by walking too long on electrified rails. Maybe even by being hit by ElectroGun or ElectroFingers, but no NPC will ever use it against you. The results are, however, perfectly the same as if you were wasted in any other way.
- In all GTA games, a pool of blood will most likely appear under the player (With a few exeptions like the flames in GTA IV)