These wounds are commonly known as 'gashes, tears or cuts' of the skin. The skin surface is split or torn following blunt trauma, and the force causes the full thickness of the skin to be damaged. Lacerations therefore bleed profusely.

Areas of the body that are commonly the site of lacerations are those with underlying bony support, such as above the eyebrows, on the scalp and face, or over the knees etc, whilst they are less common on areas of the body that are softer such as the buttocks.

Contact with motor vehicles may also cause splitting of the skin due to grinding type movements over the surface.

Lacerations have ragged wound edges, as they have been torn apart and not neatly incised as in a surgical wound. However, scalp lacerations sometimes resemble incised wounds when they have been caused by a regular shaped object. If the wound is examined closely (eg with a hand-held magnifying glass), the ragged edges can be visualised, along with,

 Lacerations on the head and face made with a hand hatchet