In this study, we propose a numerical simulation method to predict which of three possible damage mechanisms - fiber breakage, matrix crack, or delamination - underlies the damage behavior of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRPs) laminates subjected to out-of-plane impact. To model these damage mechanisms in CFRP laminates, a smeared crack model (for fiber breakage), a continuum damage mechanics (CDM) approach (for matrix cracks), or interface elements (for delamination and large transverse cracks) was implemented in a commercial finite element method (FEM) code. The element size was determined on basis of the cohesive zone length to assess the stress distribution around the crack tip accurately, and all parameters in the proposed damage models were experimentally determined. To verify the accuracy of the proposed numerical method, out-of-plane impact simulations were performed on two kinds of stacking sequence. A comparison of the simulated and experimental results revealed that the predicted damage behaviors and out-of-plane displacement distributions agreed well with the observed results. These findings verify that the proposed numerical method is highly useful for impact simulations.