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 in an 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 health fully maxed out, they will survive with a minuscule 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 out of a moving vehicle or falling off a bike (GTA Vice City, GTA Liberty City Stories, GTA Vice City Stories and 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 (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 12 meals at once (GTA San Andreas)
- Crashing the plane torwards objects, thus exploding with the player inside (GTA San Andreas)
- 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)
- Heart attack brought on by Carl being overweight. (GTA San Andreas)
As a result of being Wasted in the GTA III Era (except for GTA Vice City Stories where you can bribe the hospital staff to keep the weapons you'd normally lose and the IOS version of GTA III where you do not lose your weapons after being wasted) the player will lose all of their weapons and $100 ($1,000 in GTA III), the same as for 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.